Hop aboard “Passengers” just as fast as you can.
One of the sexiest shows in recent memory, this intimate circus piece presented by American Conservatory Theater is a full-throttle journey of gorgeous bodies hurtling through space, a kinetic sculpture in muscle and sinew that is guaranteed to leave you breathless.
Exquisitely directed and choreographed by Shana Carroll, this coup de cirque from the 7 Fingers troupe, best known for “Dear San Francisco,” runs through Oct. 9 at ACT’s newly renamed Toni Rembe Theater. The sublime 105-minute piece views train travel as a metaphor for the capriciousness of life. All of us randomly jostle with strangers as we careen headlong through time toward a destination we may never reach, experiencing equal portions of wonder and regret.
Framed by subtle film-noir-style projections (lighting by Éric Champoux, videos by Johnny Ranger) that imbue the movement with a timeless sensibility and the seduction of light and shadow, each fleeting interlude feels complete.
Theater, dance and acrobatics fuse together seamlessly as you lose yourself in this exhilarating narrative. If Cirque du Soleil basks in pageantry and spectacle, 7 Fingers navigates the far more poignant territory of heartbreak, loss and longing. The gymnastic virtuosity of the ensemble can’t be overstated but there’s far more here than sheer athleticism.
The body becomes a vehicle for pondering deep inner truths. The carnal contortionist (Kaisha Dessalines-Wright), the whimsical juggler (Santiago Rivera Laugerud) and the aerial silks acrobat (Mandi Orozco) each explore an aspect of life, the connections we make, the ephemeral passions we share and the tragedies that all too often interrupt the journey.
The performers act out scenes from various stages in the relationship life cycle from courtship to breakup, delicately capturing the dynamics of each interlude with body language alone. There is little dialogue and that’s a plus, because what there is feels a tad awkward while the movement speaks volumes.
Here the traditional circus elements, the hula hoops (Méliejade Tremblay-Bouchard), tightrope walking (Dina Sok) and juggling (Laugerud) seem elevated to the level of existential exploration. The movement shimmers with a poetry of its own.
Carroll masterfully takes the derring-do to surprisingly dark places. One climactic trapeze act (Beto Freitas and Andrew Sumner) evokes the pull of despair and the specter of sudden death. These artists stretch their imagination as far as they do their limbs, always pushing the themes a little further, a little deeper, until you find yourself standing on your feet, clapping wildly, with your heart in your mouth. You can’t help yearning for another ride.
Contact Karen D’Souza at email@example.com.
Created and directed by Shana Carroll, presented by American Conservatory Thea
Through: Oct. 9
Where: Toni Rembe Theater (formerly the Geary Theater), 415 Geary St., San Francisco
Running time: 105 minutes, no intermission
Where: Toni Rembe Theater, 415 Geary St., San Francisco
Tickets: $25-$110; www.act-sf.org
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment