With ‘Reversible,’ the amazing is almost mundane
BOSTON – We are all products of our ancestors, and of their experiences , and that simple fact inspired Gypsy Snider when it came time to develop a new show.
The co-founder and artistic director of the Montreal-based circus troupe The Seven Fingers wrote, directed and choreographed “Reversible,” the troupe’s touring production now being presented through Sept. 24 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre under the aegis of ArtsEmerson.
“Reversible” is the fifth show by the troupe presented by ArtsEmerson and follows up on last season’s critically acclaimed production of “Cuisine and Confessions” in which the performers shared both their skills and their banana bread.
There’s no baking here. Instead, the eight men and women begin the evening by taking turns at the microphone, speaking about their ancestors in many different ways, some off-hand remarks, others more pointed and personal.
And always, the emotion with which the troupe performs easily transfers itself to the audience, triggering an ever-increasing response to the jaw-dropping feats of strength, daring,and athleticism.
It all begins in front of a series of off-white facades. In one number, the cast performs an amazingly complicated pas de huit, appearing and disappearing through doors and windows and over the facades with split-second precision. The number is a tribute to the choreography skills of Snider and amazing teamwork from the company: Maria Del Mar Reyes Saez, Vincent Jutras, Jeremy Levesque, Natasha Patterson, Hugo Ragetly, Emilie Silliau, Julien Silliau, and Emi Vauthey.
Snyder instructed each of the performers to research the backgrounds of their ancestors to create characters they portray in “Reversible,” and many weren’t aware of the dark pasts of some of them.
Those stories became the basis of numbers in the production, including the spectacular Julien Silliau and the German Wheel, which he uses in ways perhaps never seen before on a stage or in an arena, a tribute to a grandfather who was a boxer who later developed Alzheimer’s.
The movements in “Reversible” are carefully crafted and connected, so the entire 90-minute production flows smoothly from one number to another, seemingly one long dream.
Along the way, women will be dangling from ropes and silks, jugglers taking the skill to a new level, and soaring somersaults, vaults, twists and turns will be performed on teeterboards.
And always, always, there are the top-notch production values that remind us of the theatricality of what we’re seeing. It begins with Ana Cappelluto’s set, with the facades turned every which way during the production to provide a backdrop for an ever-increasing array of skills; the lighting by Yan Lee Chan; and the original music, written and performed by a galaxy of artists.
The overall effect – as it usually is with The Seven Fingers – is to create a world of wonder, in which nothing seems impossible, in which the incredible becomes almost mundane.
“Reversible” is by turns, emotional, thrilling, funny, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, and always, always entertaining.
Arts Emerson presents The Seven Fingers in “Reversible.” Directed, written and choreographed by Gypsy Snyder. At the Cutler Majestic Theatre through Sept. 24. artsmerson.org