by Jessa Cunningham, dramaturg
When you come to see our production, you will see that Charlotte’s famous web is not what you expect. Directors Shawnda and Bradley Moss wanted to give the spider’s home a unique twist, so whenever Charlotte is in her web, she will be on aerial silks.
Here’s some information on aerial silks so you’ll know what to expect when you come to see the show!
Aerial and acrobatic arts have existed for centuries, dating back to 2000 BC. The modern form of aerial arts, known as Nouveau Cirque, was created only several decades ago in the 1970s. From this sprang the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil, which used dazzling acrobatic acts and spectacle to draw in audiences from all over. André Simard, a member of Cirque’s creation team, created this new art form in the early 1990s. The aerial silks allows the performer to have a secure safety line so that they can artfully and carefully execute difficult stunts in mid-air.
The aerialist uses the silks to climb up high in the air–sometimes 20ft and higher– and then uses it to wrap it around their body and do tricks such as swing, fall, spiral etc. Due to the nature of the art form, safety harnesses and lines cannot be used, as they could get tangled up in the fabric and risk injury for the performer.
Aerial silks create a beautiful and awe-inspiring phenomenon for the audience, but it is extremely trying on those who do it. Extensive training is required in order to pull off this difficult technique, and here at the 4th Wall we get a closer look at what that training entails! Stay tuned for the next post when the secrets of Charlotte’s Web are revealed by none other than our resident Charlotte herself!