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    Juggling jesters and trapeze artistes—this circus imagery will get  a new spin with the French troupe, Trois Fois Rien (Three Times Nothing), coming to town this week. The decade-old circus company from France offers a unique brand of theatrical circus that has most of the traditional elements—the trio is professionally trained in juggling, acrobatics, hand-balancing and the like—but served with poetry. As Lénaïg Fanniere, one of the trio, explains, “We try to ensure that the universe we create is transcendental and imaginary, with a touch of magic. The poetry may appear suddenly in a scene that is light, absurd or unreal.” The company, which was awarded the People’s Choice Award at Festival du Grand Bornand in 2008, and has performed more than 200 times, is in the city as part of its first international tour. And unsurprisingly, the artistes are thrilled about “going international”.

    The significance behind the name ‘Three Times Nothing’?
    The name comes from a French expression that means ‘next to nothing’. But there is another French expression that states that with next to nothing, one can do a lot. We identify with this. There is no need for trickery or grand gestures to depict deep emotions.

    What inspired three acrobats to take this up?
    What made us follow this profession was the pleasure that performing circus techniques brought us. We have each found a discipline in which we have evolved. We’ve worked hard to make our passion a profession.

    What will remind audiences of a traditional circus?
    Even though we are part of what we call ‘new circus’, our base techniques are the same as that of traditional circuses. The technical nuances are the same—the difference being how they are followed on stage. A traditional circus must conform to certain rules of the genre. We try to follow something more artistic.

    What can the Chennai audience look forward to?
    The show is about a meeting between three people, which is a storehouse of magic. They squabble for a large mysterious book, juggle five balls, balance on their hands and jump over each other to defy the laws of weightlessness. All of this is set in a universe that is very graphic and aesthetic.

    Your plans after Chennai? A new show?
    We will tour India for three weeks with the support of eight Alliance Française institutions. We will visit Thiruvananthapuram, Pondi-cherry, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata. We are also working on a new project, which will be under a tent.

    At the Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Auditorium, 7.30 pm, on November 5. Entry is free.

    —Janane Venkatraman

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