NoFit State 别扭馬戲團


Text by: Ava Davies  撰文:Ava Davies

Translated by: Chen Ting  翻譯:Chen Ting

 

NoFit State is a circus troupe like no other. Borne as a product of Thatcherite Britain and a creative reaction to the recession surrounding them, they have been part of British culture for twenty-seven years and are a valuable asset to the UK arts institution. The company’s ethos is fascinating – a travelling troupe with a moveable tent, they live, work, tour and train together, creating a sense of familial cohesion in their pursuit of ‘beautiful carnage and organised anarchy’ that their audiences want to become part of.

别扭馬戲團(NoFit State)是個獨一無二的當代馬戲團體。作為撒切尔時代的產物,它們創造性地反映了當時社會的蕭條。自成立至今的27年來,一直是英國文化的一部分,也是英國藝術界不可多得的財富。别扭馬戲有著奇妙的理念:他們帶著帳篷四處遊歷,將生活、工作、巡遊和排練融為一體,在追求“優美的屠殺與有秩序的無政府狀態”中,吸引觀眾參與其中,營造出一種家族凝聚力。

 

From their inception in 1986NoFit State pushed boundaries. They could be found juggling and busking at anti-Thatcher and anti-Apartheid demonstrations before finally deciding to set up their own circus company that specialised in political satire and was often shut down for being too controversial. While this air of zeitgeist political rebellion has faded somewhat, NoFit State has maintained their sense of anarchic, mischievous fun. Now, however, they choose to subvert expectations of circus performance: while traditional circus ideas are not discarded completely, the company see the term as having a looser definition. They take inspiration from different art forms and harness these in order to create shows that are more influenced by the mediums of modern dance and immersive theatre than clichéd images of clowns and Big Tops. They are the opposite of Cirque du Soleil, seeking to create work, which rather than simply allows their audiences to watch and admire from afar, directly engages with the mind and soul. Though their productions do have strong narratives, (Tabu, a 2009 show, took inspiration from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude), NoFitState truly excel when they grapple with fundamental themes like failure, love and sex which are explored with bracing honesty and courage.

别扭馬戲團從1986年誕生那一刻起就在打破規則,表演的場所都是各種反撒切尔、反種族隔離的抗議活動現場。隨後他們成立了自己的馬戲團公司,專注於政治諷刺作品,也時常因題材備受爭議而被迫停演。儘管這種受時代精神影響的政治反抗特色已經逐漸褪去,但是别扭馬戲團仍會在無政府主義和惡作劇中尋找樂趣。如今,他們選擇去顛覆人們對馬戲團的印象:適當保留傳統馬戲的理念,在此基礎上豐富馬戲的內容,從其他藝術形式中汲取靈感並領會實質,創造出深受現代舞蹈和浸沒戲劇影響的作品,而非只是小丑和馬戲蓬的老調常談。别扭馬戲團注重觀眾的參與,與太陽馬戲團截然相反,觀眾不再是坐在台下遠遠欣賞,而是全情投入到表演中。别扭馬戲團的表演儘管故事性很強(例如2009年基於作家加夫列爾·加西亞·瑪律克斯(Gabriel Garcia Marquez)作品《百年孤獨》而創作的《Tabu》),但對失敗、愛情和性等根本主題大膽而真實的演繹,才是他們真正過人之處。

 

The company strive to strike a balance between traditional ideas of circus performance and the rejection of convention and preconception, and have been quietly reinventing the concept of circus performance throughout their twenty-seven year tenure. Their touring ethos, embodied in the way in which they pitch a tent to perform in at whatever venue they come to, arises from the classic image in the public consciousness of circus life – a travelling community who turn up out of nowhere, spontaneously call an audience, dazzle them, then leave without a trace. But NoFitState also combines elements of contemporary visual theatre, utilising live music and film to create a show which intertwines tradition and innovation, challenging public preconceptions of circus by creating shows which express their emotional content through fusions of original music and movement. Their position as a predominantly touring company allows a degree of flexibility and ability to evolve, something that is reflected in their international success; they have visited eighteen different countries and played to over a quarter of a million people over the last five years.

在吸收傳統馬戲理念與摒棄舊習之間,别扭馬戲團試圖尋找平衡。27年期間,他們漸漸重塑了對馬戲表演的定義。他們可以走到任何一個地方便支起帳篷表演,這種巡遊的精神也是來自公眾對馬戲團演員生活最初的認知:旅途中的一群人,忽然出現在眼前,即而為觀眾獻上精彩的表演,然後無聲息地離開。但别扭馬戲團也融入了現代視覺劇場的元素,利用現場音樂演奏和影像的形式將傳統與創新結合,依託原創音樂與舞蹈來傳遞情感,顛覆公眾對馬戲團的偏見。作為巡遊團體,可以保持一定的靈活性和適應性,他們在國際舞臺上的成功也證實了這一點。過去五年內,别扭馬戲團已在18個國家為超過百萬的觀眾帶來了精彩演出。

 

‘Bianco’ is one of the latest shows by NoFitState which exemplifies their core values and demonstrates the relevance of contemporary circus today. The show travels around the country, evolving and developing in accordance to its temporary surroundings, an aspect of the performance, which gains relevance as ‘Bianco’ deals with themes of change, time and transience. As a promenade performance, the audience are encouraged to move around the ring in order to get the best vantage points, adding a sense of irreverent fun and liveliness. ‘Bianco’ moves away from tired images of circuses in decades past, suggesting a new vibrancy to the art form in their sprightly, energetic performers who get up close and personal with their audience, weaving through the spectators as they make their way to the makeshift stage. ‘Bianco’ is a celebration of life and this is something that the company can whole-heartedly say they embrace, combining death-defying stunts with stunning visual beauty and a real sense of visceral human toil.

Above all, what NoFitState strive to create is a sense of escapism: that perennial, romantic image of running away to the circus is what they look to produce. And so by creating visually arresting and thematically challenging works, which transport their audiences to another world for a few hours, they are able to achieve their aims.

别扭馬戲團最新作品《白色(Bianco)》便是他們核心價值最淋漓盡致的體現,也驗證了當代馬戲團的地位。他們在英國各地巡迴演出,並根據現場環境,對表演不斷進行改進,這正與《白色》傳遞的變化、時間和稍縱即逝的主題息息相關。由於是環境表演,觀眾可以隨意走動,尋找最佳觀賞位置,這也為現場增添了些無關主題的生動和樂趣。《白色》擺脫了過去馬戲團一成不變的形象,讓充滿激情的演員走進觀眾,穿越人群,走向臨時搭建的舞臺。他們以這樣的形式,試圖為馬戲這種藝術注入全新的活力。這部作品歌頌生命,而這正是别扭馬戲團所崇尚的。它在展現驚險特技與精彩視覺效果的同時,也蘊含著勞苦與生俱來、與身同在的主題。

别扭馬戲最終試圖實現的是一種逃避主義,一幅逃離現實、沉浸在馬戲團中的浪漫畫面。觀眾也在幾個兒時的視覺衝擊和心靈震撼中,穿梭了時空,别扭馬戲團因此也達到了目的。