In “Passengers” by the Montreal troupe The 7 Fingers, the eight acrobats tumble across the stage of ArtsEmerson’s Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, balance on a tight rope, climb up long silk scarves to spin high above the stage, juggle more balls than hands seem able to hold, and fling colleagues down from a trapeze only to be caught by colleagues below, who in turn fling them back up to the heavens again.
The show, with performances through Oct. 13, is part rough and tumble modern dance, part silent movie, part avant-garde circus—to a jaunty soundtrack that includes covers of Radiohead’s outsider anthem “Creep” and Tom Waits’s jazzy “Burma Shave.”
In “Passengers,” a train trip becomes the central metaphor onto which the derring-do is hung. The performance luxuriates in the romantic iconography of train travel—suitcases, bittersweet goodbyes, luggage carts, gazing longingly at passing landscapes. Now and again, all the breathtaking acrobatics pause for a cast member to step forward and portentously inform the audience: “Sometimes it’s not about finding somewhere new, it’s about leaving somewhere old.”
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