|Flipside Circus members Cassidy, 12, and Alana, 14, after the show. (They were not in this cast but they rock just the same)|
"When you change the way you look at things, the things that you look at change". This was the take-home message of Kaleidoscope, a Flipside Circus production at the Judith Wright Centre until Saturday. Kaleidoscope is the story of Ethan Wharton-Langridge a 12-year-old circus obsessive who has Asperger's. It's based on a book by his mother Joanna who describes Ethan's world as "the joy of walking through shafts of colour and light; a dazzling kaleidoscope". Ethan also stars in the show. There is no doubt that kids with Asperger's see life from a different angle. They follow a set of rules and conventions that put them out of step with those around them. I've always seen as though the person with Asperger's is looking at black and white view of the world and everyone else has colour. But maybe a kaleidoscope is a better description - the world view is fragmented and disjointed compared with how others see it but non-the-less very, very beautiful. Not wrong. Just different. In any event that's what Kaleidoscope is trying to say and circus is a perfect medium for that. Circus doesn't follow normal rules of gravity. The performer's angle of the world as they flip or hang is different. In this show an innovative use of multimedia was especially effective. The performers lay on a horizontal mat on the floor with the image projected vertically on the back wall of the stage. They looked like creatures on the walls of the Gravitron pinned by centripetal forces in positions that defy gravity. Add to the fact that they were wearing PJS and rolling and tossing like someone trying to wake up and you have a crazy dream like state. It was a beautiful and creative way of explaining the world of someone whose world view differs from the majority.