Interview: Leo puts gravity to the test

Main content

Tom Hunt - Dominion Post

New York, Tehran, Wellington  it's been a meteoric path to success for Tobias Wegner since his show, Leo, stormed last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The illusion-based circus show, which flies in the face of all you think you know about gravity, opens tonight at Downstage.

There are no secrets to how the illusion is created  a simple trick of a camera at 90 degrees and a projector at 90 degrees with the audience seeing the live action on one side of the stage, and the illusion on the other.

"By the end of the performance, your brain has been successfully hoodwinked: you almost forget to watch the performance in the real physical space, focusing all your attention on the fantasy taking place on the video projection," Edinburgh Spotlight said last year.

At that festival it won three major awards and, in Wellington, Wegner says the show's subsequent success, including being picked for Wellington, relates to the Scottish triumph.

In addition to taking the show to New York and Iran before Wellington, tours to Brazil, the United States, Canada, and Europe beckon.

Although the show makes defying gravity, such as walking up a wall, seem effortless, Wegner says that's not the reality.

"Physically, it's quite demanding  [for example] performing in push-up position and holding my head as if it's normal. It's a good hour and a good challenge."

Wegner studied circus in Belgium in the early 2000s and has since applied his skills to theatre, drama and classical circus. "This one is a mixture of them all."

The show is the creation of German company Circle of Eleven, with Canadian director Daniel Briere at the helm.

Surprisingly, given he comes from the circus hotbed of Montreal, Briere's own experience comes from being an actor, comedian and director.

Related Event