of the show
Sebastiano Toma is the creator of the groundbreaking and influential Little Big World, a breathtaking mix of circus, music and visuals. Among other things, he is creative director of the European Youth Circus festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, and also brought us the graphic novel version of Wim Wenders' classic film Wings of Desire/Der Himmel über Berlin.
With Heart he has collaborated with French contortionist and performance artist Lise Pauton. It is a shadowy, unnerving piece of theatre that showcases Pauton's extraordinary physicality, supported by music that veers from 1940s-style Hollywood melodrama to oppressively eerie electronica. The show looks at what would happen if we were to allow our hearts to rule our heads.
As the sole performer, Pauton is, forgive me, the heart of the show. A compelling presence, she is in turns wildly animalistic and silkily graceful. She plays a character apparently trapped in, or a willing inhabitant of a dark room, with backlit white drapes acting as a window to the outside world. With her long curtain of dark hair, initially in front of her face, falling down to her waist, she is at times more creature than woman. She puts the viewer on edge straight away by wielding a large pair of garden shears; will she chop her hair off? Her head? A limb? As the show progresses, she becomes in turns utterly possessed and demonic, thrashing around the stage in a maelstrom of physicality, before slowing and becoming more insular and calm.
Her contortion is no mere display of physicality; when she performs back bends or moves spider-like on all fours, it is to support the feeling of freedom, a lack of restraint that the character possesses.
Heart showcases Pauton's skills, but also gives us an intriguing insight into physical freedom.
Link to > TheWidowStanton / 15.02.2017/ London
Insights Into a Woman’s
The dance project “Heart“ is on show at the Lessingtheater. There was a lot of applause for a special evening in Wolfenbüttel. In the dance performance “Heart“ dancer Lise Pauton created fascinating images. If you try to capture Lise Pauton’s and Sebastiano Toma’s dance project “Heart“ in stereotypical categories, you are mistaken. On Thursday evening at the Lessingtheater Studiobühne we saw an expressionistic performance, a dance allegory that offers insights into a woman’s heart.
The scenery is sparse. Two light curtains on the stage, a trolley, an armchair, some flowers, that’s all.
Everything else is Lise Pauton’s strong presence whose expression reminds us of the works of the silent movie era, where emotions and times of day are marked by distinctive colours of light, and where the mimes on the screen are required to deliver accentuated mimic and gesticulatory performances. Now, the heart of a woman that Toma and Pauton put on display leaves a lot of room for interpretation: dance, contortion and expression melt into a journey through the heart of a woman. Fear, love, joy, and sorrow are closely related. In an expressionistic obstacle course she presents the liberated, the suffering, the jubilant as well as the mourning heart. Animalistic, thoughtful, restless, sneaking, self-eroding, exposed at the end, and finally in a feathery suit of armour jubilant towards the heavens.
During all this Pauton moves with an impressive physicality and creates a choreography that, together with fascinating visuals, convinces as a whole. Thank God this fits no category, but instead it lasts a good seventy short-lived minutes of theatre. And they resonate for a long time after, thanks to Pauton’s dance versatility and the wonderful light and sound design. Director Toma had already been a guest at the Lessingtheater with his show “Little Big World“, and elsewhere he staged the beautifully abstruse “Tiger Lillies Circus”. Friends of the bibliophile arts will enjoy his dark graphic novel “Wings of Desire“ (Himmel über Berlin) after the film of the same name by Wim Wenders. With “Heart“ he accomplished again a touching piece of theatre, which received great applause on Thursday evening
Frank Schildener - Braunschweiger Zeitung - 03.02.2017 - Wolfenbüttel
_______________________LITTLE BIG WORLDSebastiano Toma‘s “Little Big World” - audience delighted at the Maifestspiele.WIESBADEN - A magic box bursting with miraculous little things and body art of the blessed kind.
Visionary director Sebastiano Toma, already celebrated at the Maifestspiele in 2011 with his cult “The Tiger Lillies Freakshow”, carries us off into a poetic dream theatre world for two all too short hours in the ‘Großes Haus’. “Little Big World“ is a magnificent counter-concept against all common sensationalist shows, a fascinating illusion factory of the miniscule where sharks are dancing in the sky and mobile phones transform into windows to life. That’s where words become redundant for good……“Little Big World“ never coagulates to form a sterile revue show – it presents the human beings behind the show and, almost as an aside, tells us magic fairy tales of balloon sharks, toy horses, or of the really driven ones who, head bowed and mobile on ear, rush past one another. Everything seems possible in “Little Big World“, even that the red wine is pouring towards the theatre sky into the glass. Big applause.Wiesbadener Kurier, by Peter Müller"Little Big World" a Performance of Superlatives
On Tuesday evening the enchanted audience at the Fulda Schlosstheater was filled with bliss upon experiencing the work of art that is the new production by Sebastiano Toma, a man who is generously blessed with the gift of imagination. His combination of accomplished body art, mysterious video installations, utterly unbelievable stage effects, and specially composed live music, now and again virtuosic, puts every spectator under its wondrous spell from the very first moment.
Fuldaer ZeitungBreathtaking Dance AcrobaticsOn Sunday, with long lasting applause and standing ovations, the audience at Parktheater celebrated the breathtaking and most sensuous show "Little Big World".Iserlohner Kreiszeitung
-Little Big World is a natural remedy for burnout syndrome- Active ingredients: imagination, space for dreaming, colours, music, human encounters, dance and circus arts. Recommended dosage: one performance brings immediate relief of stress symptoms; to experience the full beneficial effects, repeated application is recommended. Known side-effects: appetite for more.This is Cabaret –(London)
Best Performance 2013:
Oversee Show: Little Big WOrld
The world premiere of "Little Big World" enthused the audience at Kulturhaus..... an applause that lasted for several minutes made it clear that the audience’s expectations were more than satisfied.Schwäbische Zeitung-Laupheim
"Little Big World" a caress for your eyes and ears.
Imagery from the Dream FactoryThe moment show has begun you have already forgotten everything around you, as the magical, poetic and fantastic show has captivated you entirely. For everything seems possible here, and dreams come true ...all in all an overpowering show that you can enthuse about for days.Südkurier – Friedrichshafen
Magic PoetryThe audience experienced a poetical journey between dream and reality, magical and beguilingly beautiful.Die Reinpfalz- Landau-
The Ever Important NothingnessAudience swept away by "Little Big World" / Fantastic stage show... The interplay of lights and shadows, music played with passion, among others by the violinist Marc Chaet – all of it makes this an unforgettable evening.Schwarzwälder Bote –VillingenAn unforgettable Experience – An Enthusiastic Audience at "Little Big World"Südwest-Presse-Villingen- SchwenningenBreathtaking Show – More than just VarietySix first-class musicians on piano, clarinet, violin, double bass and drums, who accompanied all performances and were in action almost non-stop, brought to life an exciting, colourful and modern kind of music that was almost always striving forward and dramatical...... The sextet was complemented by an outstanding singer who appeared in the style of the 1920s. The brilliant performance and virtuosity of the interpretation that particularly shone in various solos, turned the musical part of this show into a full-fledged concert.Pirmasenser Zeitung
A Piece of Art in Music and Performance... Congenially composed for the whole production, the music by Marc Chaet.... One can rarely experience such a congenial linking of different genres, combined with astonishing visual tricks. The show – this word makes for rather insufficient crutches here – between the real (stage) world and the visually created world turned out to be exciting and, regarding the perfect acrobatics, first class.Die Reinpfalz - PirmasensCarried off into Wondrous Worlds of ImaginationThundering applause for a whole evening that carried us off into wondrous worlds of imagination.Recklinghauser ZeitungA Fascinating World Experiences Dream and DayThat was wonderful! We, the audience, were rubbing our eyes in astonishment and amazement. In the face of visual and artistic impressions that were gigantic and magnificent, mirroring a fascinating world as if between dream and day. Impressions from reality, and their technical and visual execution into a different format created a new and charming artificial universe.
... Simply crazy (in a good way), this concept and these performers...Wolfsburger NachrichtenLittle Big World as a Magical Goodie BagMusic and singing, dance and jugglery, acrobatics as never seen before...... never ending applause and standing ovations.WAZ-WolfsburgWhen Words are Truly Redundant
That was great opera on Tuesday night at the Stadttheater. Although the poetical journey to the "Little Big World", that the creator and director Sebastiano Toma had invited us to, hardly needed any words. Instead,
music and imagery pampered us with their aesthetic and lavish opulence.
Sebastiano Toma‘s “Little Big World”
- audience delighted at the Maifestspiele. WIESBADEN
WIESBADEN - A magic box bursting with miraculous little things and body art of the blessed kind.
Visionary director Sebastiano Toma, already celebrated at the Maifestspiele in 2011 with his cult “The Tiger Lillies Freakshow”, carries us off into a poetic dream theatre world for two all too short hours in the ‘Großes Haus’.
“Little Big World“ is a magnificent counter-concept against all common sensationalist shows, a fascinating illusion factory of the miniscule where sharks are dancing in the sky and mobile phones transform into windows to life. That’s where words become redundant for good.
“The child finds everything in nothing – The adult finds nothing in everything.“
Perhaps this quote by Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi – which for director Toma represents something like the inspiration for this stage miracle – comes closest to the magic of his “Little Big (fantasy) World”.
It is almost impossible to describe this fantastic happening as it unfolds. Just how would one want to call it: a theatrical variety show? A visual circus theatre? Advanced cerebral cinema? It is all of these, and more. The ingredients: first of all a five-member orchestra under the direction of violinist Mark Chaet, who has also composed the music for “Little Big World“. Then, on the edge of the stage and, significantly, easily almost overlooked, a bonsai-style stage that could have been borrowed from a puppet workshop.
In front of it a video camera, which, sometimes positioned upside down, projects those surreal episodes that the ensemble conjure up out of wrapping paper, scissors or everyday items, onto the majestic screen of 32 square metres in the background.
These sometimes mysterious tableaus, as we look at them as if from under a microscope, consist of papier-mâché skyscrapers, model landscapes or a fish tank with chiffon scarves dancing in slow motion. With the live music and the continuously sensuous vocals by Momo Kohlschmidt they provide a framework for a range of very different artists:
For example Cristana Casadio right at the beginning, who is being manoeuvred across the stage as a lifeless puppet by her partner and “puppeteer” Stefan Sing – without any strings, of course. And just right after, as if revived by an invisible force, she celebrates a pas de deux with three juggling balls.
Then contortionist Leilana Franco who does incredible things with her body and, while lying on her stomach, puts a cigarette into her mouth using her foot. And finally, Philipp Timm and Katrin Hauf who execute breathtaking acrobatics hanging on a purple ribbon under the roof of the theatre.
What makes these brilliant artistic performances so impressive is their apparent ease and deceleration as they melt into the poetic whole.
“Little Big World“ never coagulates to form a sterile revue show – it presents the human beings behind the show and, almost as an aside, tells us magic fairy tales of balloon sharks, toy horses, or of the really driven ones who, head bowed and mobile on ear, rush past one another. Everything seems possible in “Little Big World“, even that the red wine is pouring towards the theatre sky into the glass. Big applause.
Wiesbadener Kurier 09.05.2014
By Peter Müller (translation by Hanna Stöver)
_________________________________________________________BALAGANThis stunning, international co-production, masterminded by director Sebastiano Toma, combines dance, circus, vaudeville, visual projections, superb live music and brilliantly imaginative staging in a truly magical whole. Artfully superimposed slide and film images ser the scenes. For instance, a lakeside glade, a vintage train carriage, an ampy ballroom are projected on to a plain white back wall with two doors and windows throgh wich the 14 performars appear and exit. There´s nothing resambling ab actual story as such, just a wordless fluid sequence of breathtaking individual routines, including some consummately skilled slapstick from a sharp sulted pair of clown acrobats, a beautiful, balletto duet by two Russian circus gymnasts and some jaw-dropping Hula –Hoop tricks. In Place of narrative, the show investe heawly in nocking atmosphere and eliciting wondermond. The physical performer´s
It is as if we have gone back in time, travelled to the heart of Europe, and the circus has rolled into town... Balagan's unique quality is immediately apparent... Despite the on-stage talent, the set itself must take some of the glory for Balagan's success... a stunning image that remains with us long after this merry band of artistes has bid farewell.'
**** The Scotsman
Devilishly beguiling music, an occasional flurry of splendidly silly, curiously wistful clowning, and some thoroughly eye-catching acrobatic tumbling - they all meld into Balagan, a show that's not entirely circus, not just a gig by a great band, but a magical feel-good experience.'
***** The Herald
Balagan provides a thoroughly enjoyable late-night alternative - a mixture of raucous tunes and rather good variety acts.
**** The Times
This mix of circus and Vaudeville with live music entertains with skilful acts such as daring body balancing, dazzlingly spectacular hoop work and slapstick clowning.
**** The List
Balagan is unlike any other show the Fringe has to offer and it is a privilege to see so many talented artists under the one roof, especially since that roof is the acoustically incredible dome of St George’s Church. You must see this show!
***** The Hairline
The Tiger Lillies Freakshowreview from Girona/Spain
NOVEMBER 16TH, 2010
No place better to the Municipal Theatre of Girona with its comfortable armchairs and red velvet, to inject an overdose of staff irreverence. Some had to remain confused by the brutal onslaught, and perhaps should be grateful for a frank warning sign at the entrance: "If you are highly religious precepts, if you believe in animal rights, if shocked with human prostitution, with eschatology, if you feel horrified by the monsters or if you are a lover of easy offense, let it be, do not pass this wonderful company. "
But then neither would have been fortunate in having made the deal with this great delicious trio The Tiger Lillies, horror, nor any of the oddities of raw Freakshow directed by the Italian director Sebastiano Toma.
On the rise we saw the dark backdrop of several caravans set in the shadows, dispersed, some of which hung vertical, with a look of fireta toy and strange, perverse, was going to stop the monsters show themselves. Martyn Jacques with a face smeared with black, red and white clown face a diabolical maniac like a macabre, with a walk chaplinesc, drew the stamp of pure visual eccentricity. The enormous sitting Adrian Huge on drums and Adrian Stout on bass. Three clowns inserted in the extraordinary Gothic atmosphere, the poetics of a bright and dark underworld.
Freakshow is a concert which bases its strength in originality. The Tiger Lillies, their ability to learn to mix, so uniquely, a lot of influences is vast: agitanat folk, punk, gothic rock, vaudeville and especially Berlin cabaret, with echoes of Weill and Brecht, and the immortal Mackie Messer, together they make an amazing style of music, simply delicious. But to explain this delicacy: the pathetic and brutal songs tell the stories of these deformed phenomena, the freaks, a touring exhibition of humans living in a particular world, and the blasphemous profanity, cruelty and depravity captivates us. No topics are taboo including bestiality, rape, murder, prostitution, deformity ... but always with a hidden moral that seems to keep a clear view of the inequality in the world.
The voice and the expressiveness of Martyn Jacques vocals are genius. Singing as a representation of the various alter egos, from a manic falsetto voice to the most serious and threatening, the exquisite vocal range is impressive and his ability to create colorful hues. More than twenty stories - excellent, funny, pathetic, creepy, delicious and diabolical depravity on stage. In short, the spirit of an era: horror and poetry.
MORE ABOUT THE TIGER LILLIES FREAKSHOW > BELOW
The Tiger Lillies CIRCUSa splendid-beautiful fight announcement to being
basically they are a single (raw) provocation. But their latest show pushes the game they play in perfection since their foundation in 1989 to the terrific peak. Though it´s only two hours the Tiger Lilies spend on Stage. But they are simply knocking over.
The Tiger Lilies perform a matchless Show mixing Varieté, Pop- and Rock Concert.
A fascinating performance enchanted on stage by cult director Sebastiano Toma with plenty of English Humor. (Donaukurier)
What these Tiger-Musician-Freaks succeed in this evening is splendid entertainment and coincedently letting us realize that being a freak is simply something normal (ordinary).