Saturday, May 3, 2008

Aurelia's Oratorio

Aurélia Thiérrée was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, into a family of renowned performers. Her grandfather was movie icon Charlie Chaplin, and her mother was Victoria Chaplin, one of eight children born to Oona O'Neill, daughter of the playwright Eugene. Her father, Jean-Baptiste Thierree, was a French film star who acted for directors like Fellini and Alain Resnais before becoming a full-time ringmaster. The counter-cultural circus family had an epiphany in 1978, dispensed with animals altogether, and redefined circus for a modern audience with the frills-free touring show, Le Cirque Imaginaire, in which Aurélia and her brother James made their theatrical debuts as scurrying suitcases.

Thiérrée is bringing her acclaimed show Aurelia's Oratorio to the Seattle Rep for only seven shows over five days, May 7 though 11, as an opening spectacle for the Seattle International Children's Festival. Thiérrée is a gifted acrobat, illusionist and puppeteer, and Aurélia’s Oratorio is an upside-down, inside-out world of reversals and altered states. A place of clocks and whistles where time and people disappear, coats wrestle and dispatch their owner, dresses twitch and dance alone, limbs take on a life of their own as if a poltergeist has taken over the stage. Buy tickets here. I got mine already.

The Stranger Slog has a short and intriguing interview with Ms. Thiérrée.

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