Circus will PSY-che you out

Les 7 doigts de la main, a troupe from Montreal, will debut its new production at the Irvine Barclay.

May 03, 2012|By Heather Youmans, Special to the Daily Pilot
  • "PSY" is Les 7 doigts de la main's fourth creation.
"PSY" is Les 7 doigts de la main's fourth…

"PSY," the newest and largest production from the Montreal-based circus troupe Les 7 doigts de la main (seven fingers of the hand), will spring into its debut at the Irvine Barclay Theatre for four performances only, starting May 10.

Most known for their international hit Traces, 7 Fingers' fourth creation, "PSY," was conjured up in 2010. "PSY" explores the surreal underworld of the human psyche, while merging acrobatics of the body, mind and soul.

Founded in Montreal in 2002, 7 Fingers' initial goal was to bring circus to a human scale. Nearly a decade has passed and they have managed to climb the international circuit, landing a debut at the Barclay.

"PSY's" novel concept alone was enough to draw in Irvine Barclay President Doug Rankin, who has had his finger on the circus's pulse for years. Since the early 1990s, the Barclay has consistently incorporated circus performances in their seasons.


"It's more than just a collection of great circus skills," Rankin said in a phone interview. "The way this theatre company weaves things together into a story during an hour and a half production is very engaging, very enthralling."

Each project is custom-made, approached with the same hands-on creativity and human intimacy. However, 7 Fingers' trademark is their multi-disciplinary approach to the modern circus — often using group tableaus with a multi-talented cast that goes beyond their specialty.

"Les 7 doigts de la main" is a twist on a French idiom ("the five fingers of the hand") used to describe distinct parts united tightly, moving in coordination toward one common goal.

Every finger represents each of the company's founding artistic directors (Isabelle Chassé, Shana Carroll, Patrick Léonard, Faon Shane, Gypsy Snider, Sebastian Soldevila et Samuel Tétreault) who, by combining their distinct talents and experiences, work toward their common artistic goals.

Looking back at three past productions, a trend became evident — the circus acts served as an expression of an emotional or psychological state, while projecting an inner-story. So, "PSY" director, choreographer, and writer Shanna Carol simply took the next natural step and expanded on the tendency. But not before consulting her fellow "fingers," of course.

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