Sammi O’Neill interviews Antoine Carabinier-Lépine founder and leader of Cirque Alfonse about their upcoming show Barbu which will play at London Wonderground’s iconic Spiegeltent
Antoine Carabinier-Lépine | Interview
The Wonderground features a packed programme of circus, cabaret and family entertainment, all taking place in the Spiegeltent on the Southbank. What might we expect if we come and see the show BARBU?
BARBU is like a circus rave. The first part of BARBU is like an old cabaret with traditional circus skills. Then in the second part anything and everything can happen, its goes more wild with non-traditional circus skills. It’s a real mix with music from our live band, modern circus, traditional circus and video as well.
How did you get involved with Circus and how did your initial training compare with the training you need to do to perfect BARBU? Did any of you have to learn completely new skills?
I personally started circus when I was 15 years old at the National Circus School of Montréal. Between the rest of us we worked with the biggest companies in Québec (Cirque Éloize, Cirque du Soleil, 7 Fingers…). We try to stay connected with our roots so we combine Traditional Circus with Modern Circus. We did 3 months of creation for BARBU at the beginning and when we are on tour with a show we always try to find new skills to add. We push each other and it’s a non-stop learning process.
Which part of the act is the most dangerous?
For me it’s probably doing the 4-men-hand-to-hand, I don’t know if you can tell but we are quiet big and heavy. I know for Gen [Morin] the hardest move is actually hand stands!
What is the usual audience reaction and what is the most unusual reaction you have had?
I think at the beginning the audience don’t really understand what’s going on. There is so much happening between the circus skills, the music and the video. But after couple of acts (and a couple of beers) the audience always go crazy! A lot of time the audience aren’t able to describe our show after seeing it because it’s something that you don’t expect and you don’t see often.
The image you portray is quite striking, with all your facial hair and tattoos, was it a collective decision to look that way or are you all of the same mindset.
Yes it was a collective decision to look that way. We are like a family, a clan. We’ve been working together for about 10 years now. We stay true to ourselves.
How will you spend your time in London when you are not performing, what is on the top of your ‘must see’ list?
We have all been to London before, at least a couple of times, so we’ve done the main tourist attractions already. What I’m most looking forward to is having time to experience London like real ‘Londoniens’.