The Newcastle Live office has been buzzing all week. Tonight the team are off to the Spiegeltent in Wheeler Place to catch Spiegelworld’s new production, ABSINTHE. To wet our whistle, we chatted to actor, clown, acrobat and wire-walker, Paul Matthew Lopez ahead of the show tonight.
Paul studied at The Theatre Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Art at Roosevelt University, Dell’Arte International, with Moscow State Circus Russian acrobatics coach Nourbol Meirmanov and high-wire with seventh generation circus artist Lijana Wallenda. He was honored to perform the famed Seven-Man-Pyramid at 30 feet, no-net with the Fabulous Wallendas. In 2010, he joined ABSINTHE Vegas as an original cast member performing 10 shows a week on the high wire.
During Paul’s time as a clown he saw a circus troop perform a seven man pyramid on a high wire 30 feet up in the air with no net. He was hooked.
“I’d seen a lot of circus, and then I saw this and I thought geez, I’d love to do that but there’s no way I could. I mean where do you start?” he says.
“If they fall they’re really going to die. High wire is real circus you know”.
That day Paul thought; “If continue in circus I want to do ’wire’ one day.”
So a few years later when he was asked if he wanted to give it a go, it seemed like a dream come true. He started training, then performing and a few years later Spiegelworld came along and it was a perfect marriage.
During our interview with Paul we asked him why he thought Novocastrians should head to the Spiegeltent for the show.
“It’s the coolest show. Everyone in the business knows about Spiegelworld and Absinthe. Everything coming out of this company is really ‘now’” he says.
So what gives them that ‘now’?
“In art there’s this pendulum of interest. So when pop music becomes a big deal, everyone’s who’s not a pop artist is saying, ‘screw that, I’m going to do this thing’ and there’s a counter wave. Then all of a sudden there’s this band that comes out that makes rock n’ roll way cooler than anything going on in pop and so the pendulum starts to swing back” he explains.
“So the pendulum was this artistic huge spectacle of Cirque du Soleil. Every artist that sees them goes ‘I wanna do that, but I want to do me’. So the pendulum is swinging back to just a guy on the stage saying some horrible stuff that is more profound than anything that’s going on in a multi-billion dollar production.”
He goes on to say;
“I think people are going, ‘oh that’s a person, they’re really in for a risk, they’re really doing this for us now. Everything in film and internet is so displaced, so if you come to this show you’re seeing people breath, you’re seeing muscles flex, you’re seeing mistakes and corrections happen. It’s hip, it’s real. I mean it’s rehearsed as much as possible but that freshness and that risk is something a smaller show can have where a corporate show won’t let you do your best trick because there’s the slightest amount of risk” he says.
In the down time between shows Paul has been enjoying our beaches and cafes. He’s bought himself some fins and surf wear and has been learning to body surf.
“It’s the first time I’ve lived in a city with such beach culture. I totally want to quit the circus now and become a surfer” he laughs.
You can catch Paul on the high wire at the Spiegeltent in Wheeler place until the 15th of March.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Turner