Driftwood is about our need for human contact – how did you first conceive of the idea for the show?
The starting point, as suggested by the title, was a piece of driftwood. A twig or a branch can flow down a stream, be snagged on overhanging branches, collect in bundles on the bank of a river, or become separated and drift alone. Using these journeys, we explored how this could be translated acrobatically.
How do you strike a balance between impressive tricks and making a more meaningful connection with the audience?
By being yourself and being generous. Humanity and sincerity are hallmarks of what we as Casus do in our shows. We want to demonstrate what the human body can do, but also show that behind that trick is an everyday person. We invite the audience to share our joy, pain or triumph when we nail a trick.
The contemporary circus scene grows year by year, with some of the strongest companies coming from Australia. Why do you think your homeland is producing so much talent?
I am particularly proud of our home-grown circus talent. I think we have a strong work ethic. When we’re in the space, we’re not there to mess around; there is a job to be done. And we’re unapologetic about our work, which means when we make something it’s not to please the majority, it’s to make art – quality, thoughtprovoking, innovative art.
What is the single most important attribute of any circus performer?
Respect. There are 23 hours outside of the one hour you perform with your co-performers and crew on a show. A company like Casus tours a lot, so the team need to get along, otherwise it can cause division. For example, I’m Samoan and I’m like the papa of the group, so I always have food on me to share, because warm bellies makes for happy acrobats and happy front-of-house.
Words: Kelly Apter
Driftwood, Assembly George Square Gardens, 4–28 August (not 10, 15 and 22), 3.30pm