Cirque De Thrills
Brimming with old world circus skills and avant-garde burlesque, Le Noir – the Dark Side of Cirque blends fast-paced, humorous displays of balance, contortion, stamina, aerial artistry and death-defiance ("The Colombian Wheel of Death", anyone?) in its intimate show. Cityscape caught up with emcee extraordinaire and lovable clown Salvador Salangsang for the lowdown on what to expect when Christchurch embraces its dark side.
Tell us about your emcee character.
He’s someone I made up a long time ago and developed over the years through trial and error. The character is pretty much based on my own personality – being that when I’m on and off stage, I like to have the same amount of fun whether it be with the audience, cast members or friends and family. Being the emcee, I get to take everybody through the journey but also piece together the pieces of the puzzle that make Le Noir. I do several acts throughout the show and interact with the audience. I’ve learnt early in my years as a performer and artist to make everyone feel like part of the show and not the butt of a joke.
What’s one thing people probably don’t know about Le Noir?
I would say the one thing people don’t know about Le Noir – and this surprises everyone – is that the audience sits 360-degrees around our stage. Some are regular seats in the theatre, but some seats are actually on stage around us. During the show, you get to see every bead of sweat and every breath that the artists take, as well as interacting with them.
Do you suffer performance anxiety?
One thing that a lot of people are surprised to hear about me is that I do have really bad stage fright. This is because a lot of my time on stage is interacting with the audience so my performance can change from show to show – which is great, as it keeps me on my toes, but I never know what I’ll get. But when the show’s all done and over with and we get to bow, then I can finally relax. However, it all starts again the next day, until that final bow.
What advice do you have for those attending?
My advice would be that coming and seeing our show is like roller coaster ride at a theme park – you buy your tickets, you know it’s going to be exciting but you never know what’s around the corner. Sometimes it is really exciting and adrenaline-filled and then there are moments that are smooth and poetic – there’s something for everyone. So sit back and enjoy that roller coaster ride, because when the ride’s over, you’ll have experienced something fun and exciting and you’ll want to ride it again!
The Columbian Wheel of Death sounds kinda fun – what’s it all about then?
The Columbian Wheel of Death is something that has to be seen! It’s kind of like a big hamster wheel – but this actually has humans in it that aren’t harnessed in. You’ll be amazed at what they can do on this … both inside and out of it. As I say all the time, you’ve gotta have a little bit of crazy in you to do this act – and these guys are crazy, in a good way!
How do you keep your bod Le Noir-ready?
Since a lot of us in the cast are athletes, and the show is so demanding, we all help each other out, whether it be away from the theatre or backstage before the show – even sometimes during the show. Geronimo, one half of the roller-skating duo, had me even doing one thousand and thirty push-ups in the span of two back-to-back shows.
What are you looking forward to most about Christchurch?
Performing in the re-built Isaac Theatre Royal, meeting the people, and seeing the many performers at Cup & Show Week.
Le Noir – The Dark Side of Cirque
12 – 17 November
Isaac Theatre Royal
Tickets at Ticketek.