Smashed (4:24)

Circus Post is a series of short films made by Crying Out Loud and film-maker Deborah May contextualising the development of contemporary circus over the past 40 years.

They’d already created work inspired by Merce Cunningham, Mozart, Steve Reich and Jean-Paul Sartre when, a year after the death of the great choreographer Pina Bausch, Gandini Juggling made Smashed.

Weaving the gestural choreography of Bausch’s Kontakthof with the intricate patterns and cascades of solo and ensemble juggling, Smashed simultaneously evokes great pleasure and small disquiet as it lightly disrupts the rigid conventions of etiquette, dress and body language.

Here we see it in 2010, playing outside the National Theatre in one of its first ever performances, the core Gandini company supplemented by an international cast that includes the Finnish deadpan Sakari Männistö (seen determinedly upsetting his fellow performers with a rolled-up newspaper), the airily wry Kim Huynh (seen manipulated by many hands as though a life-size puppet), and the extremely tall and lugubrious Malte Steinmetz (seen looking extremely tall and lugubrious, throughout).

In other works, the Gandinis have moved their language further toward a darker understanding of the mechanics of human relations. In Smashed, they teeter on the edge, balanced between the pleasingly subversive and the faintly unacceptable in an extended moment of comic poise. Service and power, culture and chaos, the throw and the drop, and, of course, apples and china…

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