The premiere of ‘Four Lovers‘ is looming, a circus play in this year’s Cork Midsummer Festival, asked the cast some questions about themselves and about their characters. Find out how they would describe their characters in three words and the challenges of doing a Shakespeare play as a Circus artist. You will also find out what you, the audience should expect on the night!
Meet the Cast of Four Lovers:
Who are you and what’s your background?
Lidija: I’m Lidija, a contemporary circus artist and co-founder of Tricycle Trauma, an experimental circus collective that sets out to drive social change through their art. I work cross-disciplinary and create work through a combination of circus, contemporary dance, physical theatre, experimental music and visual arts. My main discipline is dance trapeze.
Callum: I’m Callum, I’m an acrobat from Scotland. I found circus 5 years ago and ran away to circus school in 2019. My main circus disciplines are floor acrobatics, Chinese pole, and partner acrobatics, though I do a bit of everything!
Ali: I’m Ali Stanger – Co-Creator of Irish acrobatic companies Cikada Circus and Síolta Circus. I am a partner-acro flyer and ex-gymnast and graduated from Circus Space, London almost ten years ago.
Henrik: Henrik Gard – I’m an acrobat!
0phelia: I’m 0phelia. I’m an independent Music Maker and underground Hip Hop MC.
Cormac: I’m the Artistic Director of the Circus Factory. I love to juggle and all kinds of object manipulation, but I also love to move physically, be it dancing or doing cartwheels.
What inspired you to take part and what character are you playing?
Lidija: I’m playing Helena, and I’ve found a lot of inspiration for her in overly dramatic telenovela characters. I started to have a lot of fun exploring Helena’s personality and exaggerating her characteristics to make her more fun and ridiculous.
Callum: I am playing Demetrius, who is a bit of a sleazeball.
Ali: I was inspired to do four lovers for the challenge of learning to speak on stage, which is a skill that I haven’t had the chance to develop before. Also, who doesn’t love Shakespeare’s plays – they’re timeless, humorous, and bonkers!
I’m quite fittingly playing Hermia – the short one.
Henrik: I was approached and it seemed like a fun new challenge. I’m playing Lysander.
0phelia: I was inspired to do Four Lovers by the challenge of creating the music for the play in the space while the action was being made by the circus players, and by the fact that it’s a Shakespearean adaptation.
I am playing Oberon, king of the Fairies, and Theseus, Duke of the Athenians.
Cormac: I’m playing Puck, and I was initially drawn to the play to look at the dynamics of the four lovers. And I remember seeing an amazing production of the full play by CorcaDorca way back when in Fota House. It’s a great play, and I felt the pull and push of the “love chemicals” would translate well to the physical world of Circus.
Describe your character in 3 words
Lidija: Dramatic, dreamy and determined.
Callum: A sleaze ball.
Ali: Stubborn, Passionate, Disobedient.
Henrik: Determined, Romantic and at times Delusional
0phelia: Oberon is naturally regal, maternally caring but also playfully meddling. Theseus is old-fashioned, decisive, and conventional.
Cormac: Playful. Cheeky. Wild.
What are the challenges you faced doing Shakespeare (and with Circus)?
Lidija: Both working with Shakespeare’s text and some circus skills used in this show were out of my comfort zone, but that also inspired me the most.
Callum: It’s my first time using text in performance, so learning to use the voice while doing circus was something new!
Ali: Some technical differences between acting and circus performance styles. I wasn’t sure where to look at first- because with Circus we present to the audience and invite them into our world with our eyes – so I initially felt like I wasn’t truly performing when not being able to look the audience in the eye. This took some getting used to. Also learning lines – this became easier when we added physicality to the words.
Henrik: I’m not used to all that text! And to do acrobatics and other physical things with text has proved a fun challenge!
0phelia: I am challenged by learning to act convincingly and to do so in a Shakespearean style. I have really enjoyed exploring the style of the excerpt, its language, and the circus elements being designed to best complement the story.
Cormac: I’ve always thought of Circus as the “Art of Showing off”, and through doing this ‘play’ there is a 4th wall. It’s exciting for me because it changes what I do, and who I’m doing it for. And I’m very excited by the language, and how we have managed to intertwine it with the physical skills.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Lidija: I’ve just thrown myself into the fire!
Callum: With a lot of support from Ophelia [McCabe, Music Maker, and Actor] and Noelle [Ní Ríagáin, Director].
Ali: With great, constant feedback and teaching from Noelle, who is so supportive and inspiring to work with.
Henrik: Not sure, by doing and trying and failing I guess.
0phelia: I always overcome any challenge using the same formula. Preparing as best I can, getting in the space, and then doing whatever needs to be done to face the task.
Cormac: We played a lot of “Anarchic Juggling” as a warm up game, and began to incorporate the text with just throwing balls to each other. We also have a great director in Noelle Ní Riagáin who is keeping us within the world of putting on a “play” and not a “show”.
What’s your favourite thing about doing Four Lovers?
Lidija: Exploring complex characters, text, and timeless themes, combined with circus. Working with an amazing team and director who allowed us to play with endless creativity and ideas.
Callum: It’s great to take a classical play and mix it up with contemporary circus.
Ali: The amazing team who have made the process so nurturing and loads of craic! It’s been fantastic working alongside truly skillful people with such diverse skill-sets. I’ve learned so much.
Henrik: Nice to see circus in Ireland being created and performed in different challenging and new contexts. Nice to see it being created for Circus Factory as a venue as well.
0phelia: Being surrounded by a team of productive positive artists who are committed to creating something great together.
Cormac: Right now it’s the excitement of doing something so different than anything I’ve done before. And I get to do it with a great bunch of people.
What should the audience expect (no spoilers!)
Lidija: Love, desire, delusion and so much more! DUN DUN DUUUUN!!!
Callum: Laughs galore!
Ali: A daring take on Shakespeare with a twist!
Henrik: Should be a fun night!
0phelia: The audience should expect to laugh a lot, be wowed by Circus enhanced Shakespearean expression and to be brought on a journey exploring the wild dynamics of human love affairs.
Cormac: I think the audience are going to see Contemporary Circus in a new light. And they are going to see me do some slick juggling!