by Catherine Blanch.
The Big Top returns to Bonython Park with the world premiere of Circus Of Illusion. Following successful Adelaide seasons of Cabaret de Paris and The Ultimate Vegas Show internationally acclaimed Illusionist and Australia’s Got Talent finalist Michael Boyd has gathered an abundance of local and international talent to delight audiences; clowns, jugglers, mimes, aerial artists, illusionists and magicians – including Boyd’s daring escape from The Scorpion.
Children and adults alike will be delighted as they enter the heated big top with walk-up experiences including a Museum Of Magical Arts, the Magic Mirror Maze and magic workshops where kids can learn how to perform magic.
We speak with Ringmaster Ebon Greyman, who is delighted to be returning to Adelaide after a number of tours with Cirque du Soleil and The Great Moscow Circus. He begins by sharing some history on himself and how he became involved with Circus Of Illusion.
“I’m from New York City, born and raised. We lived in the Bronx with my Mum who didn’t have much money. When I was 13, she had a stroke and passed away, so I moved with my brother who raised me. He was able to pay for my gymnastics, and eventually got a University scholarship where I obtained a Bachelor Of Communications. After graduating I worked at my own gymnastics centre.
“My boss thought I would be a good fit for Cirque du Soleil and gave me the contact for them. He pushed me to send a tape, but at the time I had just got out of Uni and wanted to be a filmmaker. But circus seemed a little more exciting that the tediousness and time consuming film making,” he laughs.
“I sent the tape; they gave me a call and asked me to come to Montreal for a two week audition. There were about 20 of us auditioning. Only two of us got picked – I was lucky to be one of those. I toured with them for eight years as an acrobat, a main character and aerialist. After that stint, I went on to perform for Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity for about three and a half years.”
How did you come to be living in Australia?
“My wife is from NZ so I decided that I wanted to move there and have a normal life after all of this circus life I had been living,” he says. “We were there for four years before we moved to Australia. Somehow I managed to hook up with Michael Boyd through a friend; we started talking which eventually led him to inviting me to be a part of Circus Of Illusion as The Ringmaster.
“Michael is an amazing magician. I’ve seen him on Australia’s Got Talent and I was really impressed, so we joined forces and here we are.”
Artists performing in Circus Of Illusion include Australia’s Michael Boyd, extreme juggler Jonathan Freeman and dancer/aerialist stunt woman Elissa Cadwell, Duban Nickol the Spanish Clown, trampolinist and circus artist, and French mime artist Stephan Le Forestier.
“Although I’ve met them all, I’ve not seen their performances, so I’m almost an audience member as well and really looking forward to seeing what they can all do,” Ebon says. “I have, however, seen Stephan do his mime act – which is pretty freaky. It’s amazing. French clowns are awesome; they’re very creative and they’re always doing something innovative, so that is definitely something to look forward to.”
It’s like mime is part of the French DNA.
“Yes,” he agrees, with a chuckle. “It’s so true. My teacher from Cirque is French mime. He performed that character in a movie that we did called Alegría. I was The Ringmaster – the crazy little king’s fool. He was a lot of fun to play.”
Is that the kind of character you will portray in Circus Of Illusion, or will you be more yourself?
“He’s definitely not a King’s fool because we’re not in a Kingdom like with Alegría. I’m more of a kooky Ringmaster who doesn’t appreciate when things go wrong in the show and has to sort it out. There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on with me and the clowns – a love/hate relationship. I love to hate them.”
Has Michael designated personas to each performer or is he allowing each of you to be yourselves?
“Both, really,” Ebon says. “He wants us to bring ourselves because that’s why he has brought us into the show; because he knows we have good skills on our own. But he is also the producer that lets us know how he wants it to be done, but we do it in our own manner. It’s good that he gives the freedom to do as we wish but to also keep his vision in mind.
“What I love about Michael is that he’s so professional, and he’s caring and he really wants to give you all that you need to succeed in the part that he wants you to do.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“I’m just really looking forward to this new adventure. I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet We may do more shows after this tour, hopefully. I’m really looking forward to Michael as a producer and with the rest of the case because everyone seems to be pretty amazing. I’m extremely excited, and I’m excited to be in Adelaide again.”
Circus Of Illusion performs at The Big Top, Bonython Park, at various times, on Fri 30 Sep until Sun 23 Oct.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.