Peepshow – Circa's Stare-Way To Heaven

Written by Matt Innes
Category: Arts Published: Wednesday, 18 December 2019 14:43

Don't avert your gaze – direct it towards the sweating, writhing flesh of 'Peepshow' by Circa, a daring and voyeuristic performance all about looking and being looked at which turns cabaret on its head.

“'Peepshow' is a really interesting show because it flirts dangerously with some genres that it subverts and plays with,” Circa Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz says.

“It starts off with this cabaret world – it's fun, it's engaging, it's being performed directly to you as an audience – and then in the second half goes into a much more intense, nightclub vibe; bodies, sweat, and lights moving. It really takes you on a powerful journey.”

'Peepshow' explores the all-too-human obsession with the self – how we look to ourselves and in the eyes of others – and in particular how selfies have fundamentally altered the way we view ourselves and each other.

“It's called 'Peepshow' because it's a show that's about looking and being looked at, being seen,” Yaron explains.

“Every scene in the show has some relationship to how we see ourselves and each other, and how we're changed by the act of looking. We live in an age where people talk about 'the Instagram moment' and 'the selfie shot'. . . You see groups of young kids in the shopping mall taking photos, doing poses that feel like they know they're being watched the whole time and everything is set up for a photograph, everything is set up to be captured, and I think that experience profoundly changes us.

“We're the first society that's grown up with the expectation that everything we do is going to be watched and probably recorded. Late at night, when it's just you and your body and other people and their bodies, they're moving and sweating and there's music, smoke and darkness – you should put your phone away and go with it.”

Peepshow TheOtherRichard
Image © The Other Richard

In short, 'Peepshow' is putting the 'human' back in 'humanity', trying to reconnect people with one another through personal contact and not the skewed filter of a screen.

“I do feel like we've lost something, which is the ability to be absolutely present in this moment,” Yaron says.

“I do really feel like the show has got something to say. It's not 'anti' social media, it's pro-human, pro-us as a species. Let's not get obsessed with how we're constructed in the eyes of others; let's enjoy these bodies, their experiences, their abilities to communicate.”

Premiering last year, 'Peepshow' has recently been touring Europe where it has received rapturous acclaim during a sell-out, seven-month season in Berlin. 'Peepshow' returns to Brisbane in January, to Queensland Performing Arts Centre, where it will enjoy a double-bill with Circa's family-friendly production 'Wolfgang's Magical Musical Circus'.

For many, Yaron says 'Peepshow' offers a simple yet much-needed escape from the malaise induced by the incessant barrage of information we encounter daily.

“Where are we in this stew of images and things we can see, taste and desire. . . It's a really complex space to negotiate but it's also full of joy, unexpectedness and weirdness,” he says.

“Circus is a medium that says the world isn't one way or another, it's non-binary, it's non-hierarchical. It's a place full of wonder and amazement, come to the circus.”

'Peepshow' is on at Queensland Performing Arts Centre 14-25 January.

This story originally appeared on our sister site, scenestr.

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