Circus artists Sasu Peistola and Jenni Lehtinen from Circus company Agit-Cirk bring two world premieres Väkevä and Lyydia to Brighton Fringe Festival. They told us what to expect.
What made you to take part in Brighton Fringe?
P: “We have performed a lot internationally, but in Britain only once. Brighton Fringe is a big and interesting event. It’s nice to participate in a large scale arts festival and we would like to get to know the UK performing arts field a little better. We would also like to meet new people and promoters, see other shows and sell our shows.”
How would you describe the shows?
P: “The show will be performed inside a small Dome made of Finnish birch plywood. The seating capacity is around 35 people. Väkevä resembles a traditional travelling funfair sideshow, which is updated to a contemporary circus.”
L: “It is a very intimate and honest show, in which I am only three feet away from the spectator. This means the audience can experience the show with all senses. In Lyydia the performer makes acrobatic tricks around the structure of the dome. While doing artistic research for the show I also explored the personal theme of the excitement and fear of doing tricks.”
Where did you get your inspiration?
P: “The inspiration of Väkevä comes from old pictures of escape artists and strong men. It is interesting, what makes one do the same dangerous tricks over and over again. In the 1920s, entertainment tax was 50 procent for circus entertainment in Finland, which almost killed circus. In one way it was skimmed by calling performances lectures. This kind of circus tradition is also used in Väkevä.”
L: “In the process of developing a new show, I’m inspired by inventing and building things myself. For this performance, I have developed chains and mirrors into a piece of circus equipment. Unlike the Väkevä which in inspired by the tradition, Lyydia is more of a contemporary circus show.”
What expectations do you have for Brighton Fringe?
P: “When we performed in Britain last time, we noticed the similarity between British and Finnish humour. Both are dry and dark and therefore we believe, that the British audience will enjoy our performance.”
This year, Britain is celebrating 250 years of circus. How do you feel about that?
L: “It is great that circus has such a long tradition. The history behind it is probably even longer, but 250 years ago it was brought into the shape which it is now.”
P: “It is an honour to be a part of the same history.”
Interview: Veera Heinonen
Photo: Ari Kauppila