Review: Humans 2.0 explores care, trust and community through acrobatics and circus arts

, Review: Humans 2.0 explores care, trust and community through acrobatics and circus arts
Photo: Yaya Stempler

Staged at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay on Jun 3 and 4 and presented by Singapore International Festival of Arts, Humans 2.0 by Australian circus company Circa showcased the way circus arts can push the envelope with evocative storytelling, bringing Australia’s top acrobatic talent to Singapore in a touching and invigorating performance.

Under the direction of Yaron Lifschitz, this production took the circus further than a mere showcase of acrobatic skill. The troupe’s thoughtful choreography explored human connection, trust and vulnerability through the complex networks of acrobatic collaboration. Humans 2.0 honed in on what it means to be human, to put your life into someone else’s hands, trusting and caring for one another through both joy and fear.

Tender and intimate, the relationships between the performers spoke of nothing but care and appreciation as they trusted each other to fall and be caught. A tentative exploration of community bloomed as the show progressed, the performers drawn to each other’s bold feats and vulnerable moments.

, Review: Humans 2.0 explores care, trust and community through acrobatics and circus arts
Photo: Yaya Stempler

Punctuating these collective scenes were moments of isolation and solitude, highlighting individual performers and the incredible aerial skills this troupe brings to the stage. Tense, dramatic and beautiful, these scenes were particularly poignant thanks to Paul Jackson’s incredible lighting design, as well as the show’s original music by Ori Lichtick, which underscored the storytelling and set the mood from start to finish.

Each individual act seemed to mark a shift, bringing the performers closer as they began placing more trust in each other, moving from curious attempts and explorations to more extravagant tricks and bolder leaps – almost as if the interval of isolation had once again reminded them of their need for collective care.

As they braved riskier and more complex tricks, the strength in their community became increasingly apparent, the performers moving together less hesitantly and more like a well-oiled machine, perfectly coordinated and in tune.

By the end of the show, the deep trust and care they have for each other were palpable, bounding across the stage in a mesmerising symphony of dance, theatre and acrobatics. In this kind of undertaking, a minor mistake can injure not just a single performer but the entire ensemble, and yet they leapt into each other’s arms with joy and confidence, comfortable enough to even prank and taunt each other.

While it is paramount (and in some ways unavoidable) to develop this level of comfort and trust in one another in the world of circus, this performance set out to inspire the audience to delve deeper into their own relationships off the stage; just as circus performers must catch and lift each other up, so all of us should support our loved ones, ready to catch them if they fall.

Beyond being tender, touching and at times humorous, Humans 2.0 was of course thrilling as well, as any good circus show should be. It emphasised not just the delight we can derive from working together, but also the strength and power we call upon when caring for one another.

For more thought-provoking productions, including the ongoing 2023 season of The Studios, visit Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay