Review- Opus- Hong Kong Arts Festival


By: Meaghan McGurgan


The opening scene of Opus is beautifully staged. Four musicians stand in white and black. They begin playing. A black strap hangs from the ceiling and then a small girl comes out on stage and begins climbing the rope. She twists and turns. She flies through the air with the greatest of ease. This mixture of high art and circus, which was considered one of the lower forms (until recently) is an interesting mix of contradictions. Although, at times, the mix is a little too jarring. Opus is a fine work; which is fitting, because the word Opus, means work.


Circa's Opus is one of the most unusual circus pieces I have ever encountered. Now, don't take the word unusual for unpleasant. It was unusual because of many reasons but I certainly enjoyed myself... The music choices, design aspects, choreography, and all things combined led to a night of circus that was anything but typical. It was circus for the black tie crowd. And it was an astonishing thing to watch: graceful, proud and bombastic. Profound on so many levels.


The somber musical choice of Shostakovich’s String Quartet set the mood from the beginning. Those expecting a night of cheap thrills and chills, were immediately put off. They just did an amazing feat of physical strength! Do I clap? The music seems to suggest otherwise... Audience instead sat in awe and watched an amazing piece of theatre that took simple acrobatics and tried to make it something much deeper than a sideshow.


Let's delve deeper into the music choice of the evening, Shostakovich. The Eighth Quartet was written in 1960 and dedicated to victims of fascism and war. It's not a happy piece of music. It's quite moving at times and that's why seeing the bodies of the performers fall to ground and twist into shapes is disturbing. The symbolism from the music transfers over. There is constant lifting of the performers throughout the space. They hold their bodies stiffly and even at times are lifting the musicians as they continue to play. At one point the group of acrobats, lying facedown on the floor, gathered around a chair, clinging to it, seemingly desperate for the missing violin. Then one of them, begins balancing on the chair, performed a routine of hand stands. The choreography seems to honor the missing performer, longing for him to return to the chair.


The third act is where the show really takes off. The rhythm of the music and the performers really start to meld together. The performers strip off the unnecessary garments and show off their bare forms. We see them for who they really are. For those that watch and find themselves becoming impatient with the repetitive nature of the second act, just hold on for the last part of the show. It's well worth the wait.


Opus is playing through March 14th. For more information, click here.


Related articles:

hongkong, circus, review

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: ---


No comment at the moment.

Post New Comment