One of the most anticipated shows of this year's OzAsia Festival is the eclectic team from SIRO-A: Techno Circus. Well known for their spectacularly fun performances that combine the art of mime, dance, puppetry, comedy and high-energy music, whilst being surrounded by special effects and visuals to leave you speechless, SIRO-A's show will give us a glimpse into this fantasy-like world of futurism that involves perfectly synchronized movements to a foot-tapping soundtrack and peppered with light animation, laser effects and 3D video projection (to name a few).
In anticipation of their upcoming performances as part of OzAsia Festival, I was fortunate enough to talk to the team about their show - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourselves and SIRO-A? Our group was formed with high school classmates in 2002. We started to deliver performances overseas such as US and Europe in 2009. We established SIRO-A Inc. this past April. Our motto is to make a Japanese Broadway which entertains people from all over the world.
Tema: Who are the key individuals associated with the show? There are no key individuals. Our show has diversity. Performers, creators, all the members play important roles in every part of the show. Our team consists of various specialists who are dancers, a sound programmer, visual directors, comedians and a magician. But our roles can change often as we also play active roles in each other's fields. Every member is a performer and a creator.
Tema: How did this show go from being a concept to a reality? In general, there are three stages to realize our idea. First, we decide the performance concept. For instance, performing with the projector or dancing with three-dimensional video. Second, we share ideas with each other. Based on the theme, we do further brainstorming. Third, we make content. We make some parts of the show, adding music, video and choreography based on our idea. Then all the parts are combined. We practice and change it many times until we succeed. It takes about three months to finish making one performance to our satisfaction. We did this time as well. After we finish it, we have a new sense of accomplishment and then begin to create our next new performance.
Tema: How did you decide to incorporate a well-choreographed mix of live action 3D video projection to create the masterpiece that is your show? About 20 years ago, the phrase 'projection mapping' didn't exist and we thought it may be interesting if human performances and visual effects are combined. At that time, we did not have the convenient equipment and software we have now. So we remember that creating performances was very difficult and challenging. The phrase 'projection mapping' started to appear in the world without us noticing. We were surprised that we were pioneers in the field. And that became naturally part of our performance and also became our biggest advantage.
Tema: How long did it take you to combine all the incredible acts and make it synchronize with the 3D side of things? It takes about three months to finish making the whole performance including the creation of a video. However, we can't deliver completely synchronized performances no matter how hard we may work, as we are only human. We can do it up to 97 per cent. But we believe that the rest of three per cent is humanity, which makes the live performance wonderful and exciting. If we can do complete performances live, it doesn't make any difference from YouTube or movies as people are moved to see performers trying to make it perfect.
Tema: Would you like to briefly share your adventures with America's Got Talent - what did that show mean for the group? We were the first Japanese to win the Golden Buzzer Award at this show, and we have had offers to perform at events overseas since then. While doing a lot of performances abroad, we started to have another dream, to make a Broadway in Japan. The Tokyo Olympics will be held in 2020, and many foreigners will come to Japan. However, we don't have enough entertainment to satisfy foreign visitors. We would like to liven up Japanese entertainment. AGT motivated us to think about that.
Tema: What do your audiences need to know about your show, if they don't know much about Techno Circus? You do not need to know anything. Anyone can enjoy our show at any time. We aim to make fast entertainment like McDonald's makes fast food!
Tema: What is the basic premise of your show (without giving too much away)? The theme of the show is 'circus made by the audience'. It doesn't really have a story. We, SIRO-A, and our audience make a unique performance together for each show. The last part of the show has a special message to look forward to.
Tema: What do you hope for your audience to experience by attending your show? There are two things we would like our audiences to experience: 1. A lot of visual effects and other experiences they have never had before. 2. Feeling as if you were also a performer.
Tema: What can the audience expect from your show? You'll be drawn into a multi-dimensional performance like you've never seen before. You can enjoy yourself like an excited child.
Tema: Will this be your first time in Adelaide / Australia? If so, what are some activities that you are looking forward to ticking off your bucket list? If not, what are you hoping to experience during your time here with us? We are going to Australia for the second time, but it is the first time to go to Adelaide. It seems that there are many museums, so we would like to go there. Also, we are interested in famous wines because we all like drinking.
Tema: Is there anything else that you'd like our readers / your audience to know about your show? Our show is packed with lots of surprises and happiness like toy boxes! We hope our show will motivate people to visit Japan one day. We look forward to seeing you at the show!
Techno Circus will be performing at the Dunstan Playhouse of the Adelaide Festival Centre, as part of the OzAsia Festival, from October 18 - 20.Book your tix here.