The Greatest Show on Earth
Anna Wagner & Eike Wittrock
Set design and light design
Concept, choreographies and staging by
Antonia Baehr & Valérie Castan, contact Gonzo, Florentina Holzinger & Vincent Riebeek, Eisa Jocson, Maika Knoblich & Hendrik Quast, Meg Stuart, Jeremy Wade, Marcio Canabarro, Emmilou Rößling, Vânia Rovisco, Karol Tymiński, Les Trucs
© Anja Beutler
Can you imagine a circus that brought together performance artists and famous international choreographers? What would the art of the circus reveal about their work? The Greatest Show on Earth returns to the golden age of circus, in the late nineteenth century, when raucous acts followed each other with noise and glitter, when freaks and monsters were exhibited and where the unknown was the most cherished offering for the audience’s pleasure. This show is far from being politically correct, but creates a space of voyeurism and virtuosity. The artists contributing to this colourful and excessive evening already use elements of circus in their own shows: and now, the American choreographer Meg Stuart designs a grotesque training program to survive the future ; the duo Vincent Riebeek and Florentina Holzinger present a high wire act illustrating their artistic collaboration; Valérie Castan and Antonia Baehr explore the monstrous dimensions of the human being: Filipino dancer Eisa Jocson highlights the unavoidable eroticism and exoticism involved in dancing for others; the duo Hendrik Quast and Maika Knoblich perform a dressage act in which they reverse the roles of human and animal; Japanese group Contact Gonzo engages in a fight between man and machine, and their key motif becomes taking risks; and American dancer and choreographer Jeremy Wade and Karol Tymiński save the world in a clownish overture. The circus acts follow one another in an arena designed by Philippe Quesne, accompanied by the Dadaist music of two-piece orchestra Les Trucs. While bodies are exhibited, dressed up and exposed, it is our own relationship to show-business, money and foreignness that is under the spotlight.