Performers in ethereal white stand out starkly against a dark stage.
In front of a large trunk, the woman folds herself in half and peeks from behind her own leg. The man, upside down, spins a hoop around one ankle.
Later, he opens the trunk and finds her hidden inside. He pulls her out. She’s still folded, and he’s clearly wondering what’s next.
These are scenes from “Stitch,” a performance piece full of meaning, movement, music and metaphor — and amazing feats of aerial acrobatics and jaw-dropping contortions.
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The piece, created and performed by the San Francisco Bay area circus-arts duo Ricochet, will be seen Friday in Olympia. The performance is open to all ages — but this is not the kind of circus where elephants or cotton-candy would feel right at home.
Instead, it’s evocative and wide open to interpretation.
“Stitch” is an elegant prayer of thanks for the human body,” Howard Shapiro wrote in a Philadelphia Inquirer review of the show.
“Something I really enjoy is creating work that people can find their own meanings in,” said Cohdi Harrell, the male half of Ricochet. “But it’s really a story of people on their own trajectories in life intersecting, about how people can find each other and start to move in parallel.”
Harrell was interviewed by phone while at the Oregon Country Fair, where he and fellow Ricocheter Laura Stokes were performing last week. They did “Stitch” at the fair two years ago, but Friday’s show in Olympia marks the duo’s first full-length performance in Washington.
He said that “Stitch” is about his relationship with Stokes and about all of the ways human beings interact with one another.
So is he implying that he and Stokes are a couple? “We’re not a romantic couple,” he said. “We’re a creative pair, absolutely.”
But in a way, he said, maybe they are a romantic couple — just not in the traditional sense.
“We talk a lot about ‘Why is romance something that has to have a sexual connotation to it?’ ” he said. “We’re very sweet and very loving and caring with each other, and that is all of the things that we look at as romantic, but it isn’t within the traditional realm of what romantic means.
“We get a lot of response to our show that people can see how in love with each other we are,” he added. “And we are — but it’s just in a different context.”
The visuals of being tied up in knots, bending over backwards or hanging by an elbow might resonate differently with each viewer, but, Harrell said, “It’s definitely a story.”