When you’re in the business of making people’s jaws drop, it can be difficult to engage their brains at the same time. But French-Canadian circus troupe, Les 7 Doigts de la Main (The Seven Fingers) wants to stimulate more than just your adrenal glands. Their multi-disciplined show, Traces, has what they call the ‘human element’, which lies beneath the stunning acrobatics on top.
‘We start the show with high physical energy,’ explains co-artistic director, Gypsy Snider. ‘Then after flipping, falling, throwing and catching, the performers stand in front of the audience and talk to them so vulnerably, they manage to create a very human relationship with them.’
Hiding inside a bunker, with the threat of impending disaster just outside, the five characters share their stories amid a flurry of acrobatics, streetdance, skateboarding and parkour. Originally created in 2006, and a big hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe the following year, Traces has inevitably evolved over the past four years.
‘We try to recreate the show to fit every new cast member,’ says Snider. ‘And as the performers’ bodies and lives change as they tour, that in turn alters how they approach the show. We have also changed certain music, choreography and tricks through the years, always striving for something more unique and exciting.’
What remains constant, is Traces’ ultimate aim – to connect with the audience. ‘I want people to leave the theatre with a feeling of possibility and excitement,’ says Snider. ‘But also a feeling that they have just shared a moment with the performers, rather than just observed it.’
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Mon 1–Wed 3 Feb; Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Thu 4–Sat 6 Feb