As the call connects whoops and hollers echo through the phone and Mike Finch greets me with a friendly hello. These are the sounds of a typical day in the “office” at Circus Oz, and something that Mike has enjoyed for the past 17 years.
“I’m just looking across the rehearsal room with giant inflatable tube dudes with acrobats jumping all around them and hanging off the ceiling,” he says.
“Three minutes ago there was someone riding a unicycle with someone on their shoulders”
My call happened to be just at the right time to catch the acrobats as they were midway through a technical run of their new show ‘But Wait, There’s More’ at their home base in Collingwood.
The show, which is already mid-way through an Australian tour, touches on the idea of “infobesity”. Which is the overload of information and contemporary junk culture.
“People have got too much and they want even more. They want more channels on their TV, more speed on their internet and more choices on what they see,” Mike says.
Making political statements is something that Circus Oz is known for, and one of the many aspects of their shows that make them unique.
“The politics is partly about not pigeonholing people and partly about body policing. The media tells women that they’re supposed to look and behave a certain way to be successful or attractive,” Mike says.
“Our show totally celebrates diversity so there’s tiny people in the show, the men are allowed to be graceful and the women are allowed to be funny and strong and it diverts a lot of things just at the performance level.”
Aside from the politics, the show has everything you know and love about circus shows. With just the right mix of stunt-jumping acrobatics, cutting-edge juggling, virtuosic unicycling, elegant flying trapeze, cheeky impersonations and multi-skilled human physical exuberance.
“In terms of the scale of the show it’s a really big show, it spills out into the audience and off the stage and it’s got the high level danger. Nearly all of the performers are doing something in the show that’s life threatening,” he says.
Even with such a large show Circus Oz regularly tour overseas, with America, Canada, Europe and parts of Asia regularly stamped into their passports. But when asked if they were looking forward to performing in Geelong, Mike couldn’t be more pleased.
The local council was actually one of the first to give Circus Oz a tent, which resulted in numerous successful shows and a newfound appreciation and respect for the town.
“Geelong is great and such a good crowd. The GPAC is a really interesting performing arts centre as they’ve built a really strong community around it,” he says.
“It’s a good vibe and we’re always happy to go back. It’s a really familiar environment and we’ve got old friends that work down there so it’s really good.”
When&Where: The Playhouse Theatre, GPAC – September 4, 5 & 6
Written by Amanda Sherring, Photo by Rob Blackburn