After four years on the road and more than 50,000 kilometres tacked onto their van, two Argentine clowns are now traversing the territory, bringing their performance to the communities.
The back of their white Citroen Berlingo is slapped full of stickers representing the countries they’ve passed through: Bolivia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Belize, the United States and, most recently, Canada.
They’ve been on the road since November 2010. During that time they’ve done everything from driving across the Andes to firing up their engine in 20 below zero in Montreal. They’ve passed through 16 countries, performing at local theatres and festivals. Their act and their art fuels their adventure.
They are clowns – mimes – who tell a story of love and comedy without words.
They use music, playing unconventional instruments – bending a note with a bow and saw or an umbrella violin – and contorting their bodies and faces to shape a narrative that plays out on their language of their movements.
“It’s circus becomes poetry,” says Mariana Silva. Her partner, Juan Cruz Bracamonte, nods in agreement.
Before they began touring internationally they spent eight years in Argentina, performing across the country.
The show’s roots are in Trelew City, in the Patagonian province of Chubut, where they first performed in 2002. It launched 11 years of continuous performance. In Argentina, they performed across 18 provinces, visiting more than 50 cities.
Before they took the stage together as Mandragora Circo, Silva and Bracamonte each performed in various music, dance, theatre and circus acts.
When they hit the road in 2010, the goal was to bring their act across the Americas.
Earlier this month they had their first show on Yukon soil, performing at the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse.
From there they hit the road again, heading south to Atlin, to take part in the Atlin Arts and Music Festival.
They spoke with the News shortly before leaving town, visibly excited about the upcoming performance.
They said the North reminded them of home, and Patagonia specifically.
“The quiet, the landscape,” said Silva. “There are so many travellers and lots of art and nature. We really love it.”
Next week they are scheduled to perform in Yellowknife, before returning to the territory and heading into Dawson City, where they will stay for four days in August.
After their time in Yukon – their last scheduled performance in the territory is for September 6 in Watson Lake – they will press on to Edmonton, hoping to capture another new audience, in another new place.
The universal language of their performance pulls viewers into the show.
In Atlin, fans crowded into the tent at the main stage on Sunday morning, laughing off any weariness from the weekend as it came to a close.
They performed for an hour, showcasing an explosion of circus skills, including aerial acrobatics on tissue and trapeze, as a mixed audience of children and adults cheered along.
That, ultimately, is the goal.
“The show is for everyone,” said Silva. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy it.”
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