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Cutting Edge

A stage performance by WHS/Kalle Nio (New Settings #6))

Cutting Edge explores our morbid fascination with the bloody act of decapitation. From the Bible to the present day, via the French Revolution and the art of illusion, Finnish company WHS presents an imaginative spectacle of severed heads, mixing thrills and visual effects. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Cutting Edge
© Kalle Nio

Judith and Holofernes, Salome and Saint John the Baptist – for all its violence, decapitation remains an important subject in the history of classical painting and sculpture. And a barbarous act that has traversed human history. What does this supremely inhuman gesture tell us about our humanity? Why is simulated decapitation one of the great tours de force in the world of magic? Finnish artist and magician Kalle Nio addresses this trenchant issue with his company WHS, through a blend of the visual arts, theatre and contemporary circus.

With exceptional energy, Cutting Edge revisits classical decapitations, altering and incorporating them into new contexts, in order to grasp their hidden meanings. Mirrors, video projections and semi-transparent materials are used to present a succession of illusions, each one collapsing into the next. Naturally, the three performers’ own bodies are (seemingly) cut into pieces and mixed through stage illusion.

As a self-proclaimed work ‘at the forefront’ of the avant-garde, the piece draws on every possible source, from the repertoire of stage magic to Baroque theatre and contemporary dance, with a hint of punk rock. These crossed references offer an off-beat, sidelong take on a terrifying, imaginary world, captured by the WHS company with assured black humour.

This incisive spectacle is part of New Settings #6 from the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, supporting its production and performance at the Théâtre de la Cité internationale in Paris.

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Théâtre de la Cité Internationale
Thursday, November 17 to Saturday, November 19, 2016, 8.30 p.m.
 Duration c. 1 h  


Artistic director Kalle Nio
Written by Kalle Nio & the cast
Performers Inês Campos, Vera Selene Tegelman & Jukka Tarvainen
Lighting and technical direction Jere Mönkkönen & Joonas Tikkanen
Sound Samuli Kosminen
Costumes Mila Moisio & Kaisa Rissanen
Set and props Taneli Rautiainen
Libretto Henriikka Himma
With support from the Hermès Foundation within the framework of the programme New Settings.
Coproduction : Helsinki Festival/Helsingin Juhlaviikot ; La Brèche, Pôle national des arts du cirque de Basse-Normandie, France ; Trident - Scène nationale de Cherbourg-Octeville, France ; Mala performerska scena/Festival novog cirkusa, Zagreb, Croatie ; Teatro São Luiz, Portugal ; Kumu Art Museum, Estonie ; Cirko - Center for New Circus, Finlande ; Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Finlande ; Kone Foundation, Finlande ; Finnish Cultural Foundation ; Arts Promotion Centre Finland.