Wow, that was radical.
Radical in the most simple and straightforward way.
It isn’t rocket science, but it is incredibly radical and the beautiful thing about that is that this may not be readily obvious to some who watch the show.
Why you may ask? Well You & I is a rare story of two men who are in love, their relationship and how they spend a rainy day at home. It’s not a story about trauma, which initially defined public stories about queer people. Neither is it a story of coming out and internal struggle, nor one of titillation, camp, aggression or sex between two men. It’s a story of two men who are married, comfortable in their own skin, and the life they have chosen to live together. A story of intimacy and love between two men. And it’s still a story that’s rarely seen on stage and screen.
Later in the night at the Q & A, Jesse stated that this was a key inspiration for him. He wanted to see a story that reflected his life and the life that he shares with Lachy. Having been fortunate enough to have grown up in a supportive environment and working in a community that embraces queer an alternate voices, they wanted to showcase an alternate image of the queer people than those that are often presented to the public; one of the intimacy, tenderness, love and support between two men.
For me this concept would have been more than enough to draw me to the show, but You & I is also all about the circus and the boys bring all of their skills for their first full length work together.
The premise of the show focuses on the couple being trapped inside on a rainy day with nothing to do, so they practice and play with their circus skills to while the day away. But circus is also a metaphor for their relationship and throughout You & I Jesse and Lachy use the artform as a means to reflect on the life they share and the balancing act of being in a long-term relationship.
As two of the founding members of Casus Circus, Jesse and Lachy are both multi-skilled circus performers in their own right. They support and balance each other through, made all the more impressive by their different heights, and showcase their skills in acrobatics, trapeze, hand balancing, hooping and chair balance. The intimacy of acrobatics and dance shows the connection and trust they have. They support each other’s solo pieces, most strikingly with Jesse’s hand, foot, then head replacing a cane during Lachy’s hand balancing routine.
Play is presented as an essential element of both their relationship and how they create work. They play with stereotypes of queer men, but can’t find the right fit. Jesse plays with hoops and presents one of the most original hooping act I’ve seen in a long time. Some of the most breathtaking work in their dynamic duo-acro and Risley. Playful, intimate, energetic and breathtaking all in one. Lachy is almost weightless and seems to fly through the air and their joy they share with each other and with the audience is infectious.
You & I is Casus Circus’s first narrative circus work and a bit of a departure from their previous shows, which have focused on shorter acts linked together around a common theme. Here they play with repetition, mirroring and techniques of dance and physical theatre to tie it all together. They also worked with a dramaturg to ensure they were able to best convey the narrative they wanted to present. It was interesting to see the audience’s reaction to this. Many wanted to clap and cheer when they were moved by a big trick, some almost desperate to scream their appreciation. Most held it until the end though giving the boys the standing ovation they deserved.
You & I is a gorgeous piece of new circus from Casus. It’s not just about the breathtaking circus we expect from this Brisbane-based troupe, but a joyous celebration of the love, partnership and commitment between two men. It’s something my teenage self would have craved, and something that made my heart sing. And, from the reaction of the audience, something that moved everyone in the room. And yet, it’s something that is still something that is rarely presented on stage or screen. And in itself makes You & I a truly radical act.
Ads J saw You & I on 25 September as a part of the 2019 Brisbane Festival. You & I plays at the Theatre Republic until 28 September.
Creator | Jesse Scott
Performer | Jesse Scott
Performer | Lachlan Mcaulay