The Cirque du Soleil blue-and-yellow Big Top arrived in Brisbane on Saturday 14th July for the Australian premiere season of OVO, the show which takes audiences into the colourful and energetic world of insects. The critically acclaimed and family-friendly OVO (meaning ‘egg’ in Portugese), is a headlong rush into a colourful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in an non-stop riot of energy and movement.
Today, here at DanceLife, we managed to catch up with Michelle Matlock who plays the lead character ‘LADYBUG’ for a few words:
How did you come into the Cirque Du Soleil world?
“This is my first production with Cirque. I auditioned for Cirque in ’04 and they liked my physical comedy but they didn’t have any roles at that point in time they could utilise me in. In OVO I play the lead character, the ‘LADYBUG’, which is a character all based around physical comedy, semi hi-jinks; using my body to portray what I think a bug might do! I keep it fresh because I have the freedom in the show to adapt to our audience in whichever city we might be in. That’s the beauty, we won’t know until we get here what we might do to adapt – a lot has to do with the response we get from our audience”.
Michelle is originally from Seattle and graduated from the National Shakespeare Academy of New York where she studied classical Shakespearean acting. She developed her solo show ‘The Mammy Project’ in 2001 before working with other circus troupes throughout the US and developing her signature physical comedic style.
We also managed to touch base with Assistant Artistic Director, Jen Bender:
What can you tell our readers about OVO?
“It has been running for 3 years entering Australia for the first time this year. It is about an insect community with the LADY BUG being the main character. She meets her love interest the FLY and it is ‘love at first sight’. The show follows the love story and its interconnected and extended surrounding insect communities.”
When did you join the Cirque Team?
“I have been with the OVO production now for a year. Before that I was a theatre director and dancer. I was the original Assistant Artistic Director on ‘The Lion King’ and now with ‘OVO’. I travel all over with the show. It’s great that the company recognise the importance of having someone in such a role to maintain the integrity of the show. I find it personally very rewarding and have made so many close friendships within the company.”
How do you keep it fresh?
“It’s the choreography, the staging, the intention of the storytelling – all the theatrical elements of shows – that need to be kept clean. We do the regular things like reviewing the ‘counts’ of the choreography but more often we encourage each performer to bring their own character development to it. It’s always about what is being told in the moment, and the movement develops. We try to inspire the cast by bringing in outside artists or choreographers just to do a class with our cast, or we might take them to a show and send the artists back on stage with a renewed energy for the performance. Deb (Deborah Colker – Writer, Director, Choreographer) created a show where there is not a great divide between acrobats, actors, dancers, circus acts or comedians: every character is on stage creating a connective tissue of movement to enhance the storytelling.”
And this quote from Deb Colker (Writer/Director/Choreographer) …
“OVO presents the world of insects with the emphasis on constant movement and color,” says
Deborah. “I have a very physical choreographic language and for me the insects’ movements
translate into emotion. OVO reflects my background in dance, of course, but it also represents
my lifelong love of music, the inspiration I draw from sport and the liveliness you can discover
in every aspect of life. I love to work on a large scale and create a big impact with tons of energy
and excitement on stage.”
Following the Brisbane season OVO will move to Sydney where it will premiere under the Big Top at The Showring at the Entertainment Quarter on September 13, with seasons in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth following.
Due to popular demand from the public, two additional weeks of performances (24 October – 4 November) have been added to the Sydney season.
Tickets for the additional shows are now on sale from www.cirquedusoleil.com/ovo
The cast of OVO features 54 performing artists from 16 countries specializing in many Acrobatic acts.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL – OVO – 2012/2013 AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Brisbane – From July 14 2012 to September 2, 2012, Northshore Hamilton
Sydney – From September 13 2012, Showring at The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
Adelaide – From December 6 2012, Tambawodli (Park 24)
Melbourne – From January 17 2013, Melbourne Docklands
Perth – From April 14 2013, Langley Park