DAMN EVERYTHING BUT THE CIRCUS! Beau Creep shares insight on MAN UP!'s provocative new production

Welcome to Cirque Electrique! Outside, a dystopian world is run by sinister forces seeking to destroy free will and to deprive people of their light – their voice. But at the circus, the show must go on.

Photo by Vintage Photography.

Photo by Vintage Photography.

MAN UP!'s new high-energy production is not unlike a three ring circus. In addition to jaw-dropping group numbers, Cirque Electrique showcases each MAN UP! member's unique talents as they embody the colourful characters of the circus. At times hilarious and others heartbreaking, Cirque Electrique has something for everyone in the audience.

But after their tongue-in-cheek send up to James Bond, and the bubble gum pop homage to the Spice Girls, you might be wondering:

 

So, why the circus? 

 

 

We turned to Beau Creep (Brennan Doucet) for his take on Cirque Electrique.

“The circus seemed like a natural choice for a MAN UP! show. Where else can you find clowns and singers and acrobats and dancers and magic all under one roof? While we love performing collectively with each other, we also bring our own unique talents and, for lack of a better word, weirdness. But while the theme allows us to incorporate our unique styles and talents, it also goes a bit deeper. 

A lot of circuses and travelling carnivals in the early 1900's were comprised of performers who didn't fit in anywhere else in society. Whether they looked differently or just thought differently, they were considered outcasts. The circus not only gave these beautiful weirdos a home, it put them centre stage where they could showcase their unique talents while challenging societal taboos and mocking the patriarchal systems that made them outsiders.

Much of what MAN UP! strives to do through each of our productions (whether lightheartedly through shows like Spice Boys, or decidedly darker, like Cirque), is to challenge oppressive societal norms and to do so in a way that allows us to be our authentic and vulnerable selves. We have all adapted some very exciting classic circus character tropes for this show including (of course) clowns, lion tamers, ringmasters, roadies, and even an overly enthusiastic lion cage cleaner. We embrace our inner weirdo - our inner clown - and create an immersive and colourful show that has quite literally, something for everyone!”

MAN UP!’s Cirque Electrique plays Evolution Wonderlounge April 7 & 8 (Doors 8 Show 9).

Get your advance tickets now!

Welcome to the CIRCUS: Choreographer Joshua Wolchansky takes you behind-the-scenes of MAN UP!’s electric new show, CIRQUE ELECTRIQUE

Welcome to the CIRCUS: Choreographer Joshua Wolchansky takes you behind-the-scenes of MAN UP!’s electric new show, CIRQUE ELECTRIQUE

Get ready, Jasper Pride Festival; MAN UP! has kicked off rehearsals for their new show, CIRQUE ELECTRIQUE, premiering at the festival this March. We sat down with MAN UP!’s choreographer Joshua Wolchansky (Fitzgerald Bitchwilliam III) to get some insight into his process of developing a new production. 

THESE BOYS WANT TO SPICE UP YOUR LIFE!

THESE BOYS WANT TO SPICE UP YOUR LIFE!

Featuring all the hits from arguably the best girl group of the 90s, this fun, gender-twisting production is poised to offer a healthy helping of spice to the city’s early holiday theatre season.

Stop Right Now...Thank You Very Much! It's Time to Meet the SPICE BOYS!!

Stop Right Now...Thank You Very Much! It's Time to Meet the SPICE BOYS!!

In honour of the 20th anniversary of Wannabe, the MAN UP! brothers have envisioned each iconic Spice persona as her male alter-ego, describing the production as one part tribute and one part performance art. You’ll be surprised how much each of them has in common with their favourite Spice Girl. Allow us to introduce you to the SPICE BOYS!

Hey Gents! Ready to buy your first pair of heels?

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for MAN UP! We launched our MAN UP! Boot Camp at Dance Code Studio (which takes place every Thursday night at 7 pm – we’re dying to see you there). Then, CBC featured MAN UP!’s artistic director, Gregory Caswell (aka G.Venchy), on their morning radio show and website. Tickets for SPICE BOYS went on sale! And to top it all off, we took class with our hero, Yanis Marshall.

While filming our CBC segment, Gregory was asked if he could give some tips on buying your first pair of heels. Since it ended up on the cutting room floor, we thought we’d share his tips here. Use these as you’re getting ready for your first MAN UP! Boot Camp, buying your perfect costume piece, or just because you’re #fierceasfuck.

There's just something about a man in heels...

There's just something about a man in heels...

 

G.Venchy’s 5 Tips for buying your first pair of heels:

Do the math. Designers are slowly but surely bringing higher heels into men’s fashion, but as it stands, you'll have to dole out quite a pretty penny if you want to take this route. My first pair of heels were Fluevogs, and although I love them dearly, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw when I bought them. While we wait for men’s shoes to feature a higher heel more regularly, it’s a whole lot easier to buy a shoe designed with a woman in mind. Here’s the equation to follow: Your shoe size + 2. I wear a 10.5 mens, so I typically buy a 12 or 13 heel. Keep in mind that a man’s foot is often times wider than a woman’s, so a little bit bigger is always a good idea, especially if you're planning to wear them for a long time without seeing stars.

Baby steps. I have fallen victim to the badass heel. Once upon a time, against the advice of literally everyone, I thought I could pull off a high heel ballet point shoe. Let’s just say I put them on, and then pulled them right off. Another story I like to share is how, when MAN UP! started, four out of the five of us had never worn heels before. To an outsider, our first rehearsal looked like a bunch of baby giraffes learning how to walk. Walking in heels is a new skill to be mastered, so take it slow. Just like how a diver wouldn’t go to the highest diving board on their first try, your first heels should be your starting point, not your end goal. Try a bit shorter and a bit wider. It doesn’t mean they have to be ugly! Also, if your shoes are meant for dancing, pick something in the bootie family. It’s enough of a struggle walking in heels, let alone making sure they stay on your feet. Booties become an extension of the leg, making them ideal when slaying on the dance floor.

Know where to find your heels. The first time I bought a pair of heels in public was one of the most nerve-wracking and vulnerable moments of my life. Let me tell you this, as much as you think what you’re doing is shocking or that people are giving you the side-eye, you are not the first man to try on a pair of high heels in public. In fact, most, if not all shoe sales people have helped a man buy a pair of heels before, and actually love doing it. So, have fun, ask for help, and be confident. Here’s the catch: the average shoe store doesn’t carry heels in sizes larger than an 11 (size 9 men’s) – which is great if your not 6’2” like I am. I buy most of my heels from amazon.ca, my preferred designer is Pleaser, and their spin-off companies, like Funtasma. Their sizes can go up to a 16. I’ve also found heels at Night Shade Corsets.

Another tip is to wear a nylon sock. This will help your feet slide effortlessly into your heels. You can buy them for ridiculously cheap at Dollarama ($1.25/2 pairs).

Practice makes perfect. Like I said earlier, the first time you wear your heels, you won’t necessarily feel or look fierce, you’ll look more along the lines of an ostrich learning to walk. Be kind to yourself. You’re starting on your path towards ferocity. When I first started wearing heels, a friend recommended I break them in while vacuuming. This works great if you don’t have downstairs neighbours, or you vacuum (which I do…I swear!). There’s great classes you can take (ahem…MAN UP! Boot Camp). Joshua Wolchansky, our choreographer and Boot Camp Instructor, taught me everything I know.

Own it. Once you’re used to wearing heels, take a minute and look at yourself in the mirror. Check out your legs and your ass. You’ll notice something – you’re HOT AF. Maybe you’ll embrace your feminine side; maybe you’ll see every single muscle in your leg defined in a way you’ve never seen before. Either way, there’s no shame. Remember, heels were initially designed for men to wear. They are a shoe with a higher heel. That’s it, that’s all. You’re the bold, sexy and brave guy who's wearing them!