Making choices for ourselves can very often impact on the lives of those around us, even if we don’t necessarily think it. Often times we’re faced with not only thinking of what’s best for us in the short term, but what would also be of great benefit in the longer term. We try our best to make decisions that make everyone happy, but does that fulfil our own happiness? Probably not as we’re always having to compromise, however if you operate by the principle of honesty, your happiness becomes the focal point. Exploring honesty and expectations, Directors and Circus Performers Nikki Rummer and Jean-Daniel Broussé discuss their show ‘Knot’, playing throughout August at the Assembly Roxy as part of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Hi Nikki and Jean-Daniel, your show Knot will take part in this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe throughout August. How are you feeling ahead of the run?
We have been part of the Fringe madness twice already so there is both a lot of excitement ahead of the start and also a bit of nerves. It’s hard physically, there are only two of us on stage, as well as mentally. We are very proud of our show so we hope it will do well against the thousands of others.
The show explores the question ‘how can we be honest with ourselves without hurting those we love? What inspired you explore this?
The question of honesty is very central to our show. What you are asked to put on stage is different from who you are and different from what you are happy to reveal. With our show we constantly play with what is true and what isn’t. We play with expectations – expectations from your family, from your friends and from the audience. I feel like we spend our lives discovering who we are, and we do that alongside each other. Sometimes it can feel hard to follow our path without disappointing or hurting those around us. With Knot, we talk about our personal journey through these universal questions.
How have you approached creating Knot?
Knot is our first show. For that reason we had the chance to be able to take our time with it, we grew and learnt alongside the creation of the show, which gave it depth and nuances. We also had the chance to work with a lot of different choreographers and directors which again gave Knot its unique blend of skills. We wanted to have a circus show with a clear narrative that seamlessly combined acrobatics, dance and storytelling. That felt like a hard challenge but it created what we think is a very unique piece.
Knot is produced by Jacksons Lane Theatre and created in collaboration with Lost Dog Dance Company choreographer Ben Duke. How have you all worked together to realise the show?
We’ve had the chance to work with Ben Duke on a project before and we really enjoyed his way of working and how he sees the world. To find a structure for a show that feels cohesive is difficult and Ben has really helped us shaping the narrative of Knot and finding the different layers we wanted the piece to have.
Jacksons Lane has been there for us from the beginning of our journey. They really are a central hub for circus artists in London. They have helped us with space and mentoring through the years and we are delighted that they are now helping us bringing Knot to Edinburgh.
Have you learned anything new from the creation of the show?
We have learnt so much during the creation of Knot. It would be hard to single out one thing. This show has made us more confident as performers but, more importantly, as creators.
What can audiences expect from the show?
Knot is an autobiographical show. It’s just like life can be: honest, funny, poignant, sometimes silly, sometimes sad.
What would you like for audiences to take away from the show?
That is a hard question to answer. What I always want is to make a show that will stay with people. I love to make people laugh but I always feel like it’s not enough. I want to also make them reflect on what it is to be human. I would love them to feel that by seeing our story they have realised (just for a bit) that they are not alone in this weird journey that is life.
What advice would you give to aspiring circus performers and theatre makers?
Just watch and learn from as many people as you can. Try to see plays, dance shows, performances, exhibitions, circus shows. As many and varied experiences as you can. It will really help you to find out what you like and also give you different tools to express what you want to say.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Knot will show from Wednesday 31st July until at Sunday 25th August 2019 at Assembly Roxy as part of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. To find out more about the production, visit here…