With a new cast, new acts, but with the same skill, athleticism and humour Circus Oz is renowned for … they’re back with their new show, “But Wait … there’s More!” This amazing spectacle will bring the Glasshouse’s stage to life on October 23 and 24. Musical Director Ania Reynolds tells us she can’t wait to come back to Port Macquarie …
Hi Ania. What’s changed since Circus Oz’s last visit to Port Macquarie?
We have a new cast who’ll be bringing the show to the Glasshouse; the lighting designer and I are the only two originals from the last show. So, with that, we have a brand new show and a brand new set of acts.
I think of particular interest is we have a flying trapeze act this time that wasn’t in the show last time. It’s a lot of fun, and I think one of the great things about it is it’s just as much fun to dive off the trapeze and splat on the crash mats, as it is to actually land the tricks. There’s a good mix of both in there!
There’s also a really beautiful unicycle adagio routine – two performers who perform a series of balances as you normally would on solid ground, but in this instance they’re actually doing them while one of them rides the unicycle around the stage. You don’t see that quite so often in the world; it’s quite unique.
One of our signature effects is live music; so we have a live band, and a lot of the acrobats join in on various instruments at certain points during the show. There are a lot of big group musical numbers.
What does your role as Musical Director involve?
The role of Musical Director encompasses many things, which makes it a lot of fun. We write all the music for the show – it’s an original score, and that’s composed by me and the drummer, Ben Hendry. We’re the core band, but there are a couple of people in the show who double as acrobats and musicians – they’re multi-skilled performers.
The other element of music in Circus Oz is when people join the company, they generally get put on some sort of instrument – even if they’ve never played it before. We have an approach of “the more, the merrier”! It’s often about having fun with honks, squeaks and squawks, as well as learning music formally – often used for “marking”, where you highlight the element of tricks.
We have a vocalist in the show – Candy – who comes from a Rap background, so we have a couple of numbers that are quite vocal heavy. Then, it’s just a matter of putting this all together, rehearsing, then getting out there on stage, leaping around and having fun!
Sounds like you guys must have a ball when you tour together!
Touring Australia is my favourite part, because it’s such a lovely, carefree lifestyle. You’re on the road, going to all of these different towns, and there’s just this really nice sense of being welcomed when you visit them all. You’re bringing something really enjoyable to each community, so when you go down the street and tell people you’re from the circus, that always starts a conversation.
I think the other thing that’s really nice when you’re on the road is because we’re all travelling as a group, there’s a lot of opportunity to come up with other ideas, explore things, write some music – there’s a little bit of downtime, so it’s nice to develop more material which might get worked into the show … You develop a creative language with your cast mates, so it’s a great lifestyle.
How much are you looking forward to revisiting Port? The word is you had a great time last time …
Absolutely! Last time we went from Newcastle to Port Macquarie, and when we got to Port we had a couple of days off. Everyone hit the beach! There were a few surfers in the group, and those of us, like me, who were L-Plate surfers had the really big, chunky boards (laugh). We stayed at the Observatory, which has the beautiful café at the bottom, and the beach was just across the road. It was paradise! Wake up, have a great coffee, go and spend the day in the waves … Life couldn’t get any better!
I must say, the staff and the crew at the Glasshouse were really wonderful; they made us feel so welcome. One of the guys was really active in the local music scene, and he put us on to all the best local gigs to go to – we saw a Jazz show, and some really nice afternoon music out in the beer garden, so it felt as if we’d been welcomed to this lovely community where we could hear great music, have some amazing cocktails and good food. It was just peachy!
The Glasshouse is such a wonderful, contemporary venue, and the crowds were really appreciative. I’m so glad we get to come back.
How extensive is your tour this time around?
This time we’ve been doing regional Victoria and regional NSW, so it is one of those tours where we get to travel from town to town on a bus. When we go to other parts of Australia, there may be flights to cover the larger distances – like Perth to Darwin. It’s like we’re on a tour bus this time!
We’ve been all around Victoria, and we’re in Wagga Wagga at the moment. Port Macquarie will be our last stop – I think there are 15 towns altogether, so Port Macquarie’s like this nice little reward at the end!
How much rehearsing do you have to do each week?
With acts like the flying trapeze, it’s one of those circus skills where regular training is required to keep up people’s fitness, and also to maintain the act at a safe level. Generally there’s time on tour where we might be in one place for a while, and then there are split weeks where we might be in more than one place – so when we’re in one place for a while we find time to rehearse.
And when everything’s going really well, there’s also an opportunity to develop tricks, so we can get them into the next venue. When we’re running a show, we meet two hours before the show opens, and that’s our time to go over any notes from the previous performance; we might have to adapt things for the size and shape of the venue, and we warm up musically and acrobatically too.
What’s your favourite part of the show?
I think probably at the moment, the second half of the show opens with a big brass marching band piece of music – with a twist. It includes a vocal part, but it’s not vocal in the normal sense of singing … (Laughs). I won’t tell you more than that; you’ll have to come to the show to see what it is! It’s very kid-friendly, but it’s one of those acts where you have to try really hard to stop yourself from laughing. It’s a real challenge to do this!
Final say …
It’s a show that appeals to all ages. So many of the tricks are spectacular and may not be things that people have seen before, in terms of unique presentation. It’s a very fun show – people will have a good laugh and a good time and again, we’re just so stoked to be coming back to Port Macquarie!
Thanks Ania. Interview by Jo Atkins. Photos courtesy of Rob Blackburn.
See Circus Oz on Friday 23 October, 7pm. Saturday 24 October, 1pm and 7pm.
Tickets: $57 general; $47 member; $40 under 21. Call the Box Office 6581 8888 or Visit: www.glasshouse.org.au