Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Arts Festival Review: Les Arts Sauts

Les Arts Sauts

Reviewed by Alison Little

Click for big version

Ola Kala
Les Arts Sauts
24 Feb – 19th March
refer for dates and times
Duration: approx 1 hour
Venue: Waitangi Park
Cost: GA $75.00, Friend $70.00, child $45.00

The 28 metre high inflatable dome where Les Arts Sauts are staging Ola Karla is an instant landmark on the Wellington waterfront.

Entrance to the unusual building is through hair-deranging ‘air lock’ buffer doors, and as you take your seat in a Brighton beach-style reclining deck chair, you are aware that this show will be a little different. Waiting for the start, the atmosphere is increasingly eerie, with people whooping and calling to friends, laughing at the strange acoustics. Lights and smoke simulate a flat grey ceiling a few metres above the audiences’ heads. Just faintly the gleam of industrial girders and struts, and strange trailing ladders, can be seen through the murk.

The excited murmur changes to enthused clapping; the performers arrive only to swarm up the support struts and vanish above the mist. The performance begins with a single man walking across the safety net, his foot falls distorting the plane of the ceiling and showing it for it is. Then, the lights shift, and the carefully posed performers began to move...

The show shifts through a number of sequences, both trapeze and wire work. At times the focus is on a single performer, twisting and tumbling between catchers, moving up and down through the space. For all that these are 'star turns', astonishing teamwork is required to coordinate those catches, and to make sure every trapeze swings to the right place at the right time. The large group sets are even more dazzling, when four or more are flung across the same airspace in tight sequence, a space that suddenly seems incredibly small and dangerously crowded.

It isn’t completely flawless - there are some misses and slips, some stumbled landings - but even these become part of the show, with the tumbled bowing as gracefully to the audience as if they had soared.

Shifts in mood and pace are marked by changes in the light and sound, which in another show would be a performance by themselves. Ola Kala (Greek for ''everything is going to be fine'') has a full-on musical score provided by a majestic singer, a string ensemble, and a keyboardist all performing from tiny platforms high among the beams. The costumes have a vaguely post-apocalyptic feel to them, variously fitted and trailing draperies revealing the lithe muscularity of the performers.

Finally one by one the artists dive into the net, each ooohed and aaahhed by the awestruck audience. The show takes only a little over an hour from when the performers enter to the last bow, but an amazing amount is packed in. Les Arts Sauts intend Ola Karla to be their last tour, so this visit will be their last to New Zealand.

Sitting on the bus home, I notice the faint dusting of white powder on my black trousers: a little residue from the clouds of griping chalk that performers had constantly recoated their hands and arms with. Surely magic dust.


Scoop Audio and Images: Les Arts Sauts' Sara Sandqvist
NZ Festival: Les Arts Sauts
Les Arts Sauts website
Scoop Full Coverage: Festival 06

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news