Oliver Smith-Wellnitz (A4 pres DownPour) Q & A
By Crimson Cookie
Oliver Smith-Wellnitz – Aerialist & Hula Hooper
CC: Being a newly developed circus troupe, was it difficult to break away from Flying Fruit Fly Circus and form your own group – A4 Circus Ensemble?
OS: Well, I actually joined the group fairly recently. I had graduated from the Flying Fruit Fly Circus last year, and was looking to get out into the industry, so A4 was the perfect opportunity!
CC: With so many amazing and talented circus performers out there, does it feel overwhelming at times when creating performances that need be more theatrical and more thrilling then the competition?
OS: Only if you think about it too much! I think the important thing is to focus on your own performance and creation, rather than compare it too much to everyone else's. Otherwise, you are never going to get very far.
CC: What inspired you to create a performance based on Dostoevsky’s ‘White Nights’? Did any of you feel a personal connection to the story?
OS: Well I came into the picture a while after the development, but I think it was a great choice. The story is full of great themes and images which we have been able to put into the show. I always enjoy looking for ways to put these images into the show through our physicality and circus.
CC: Your physical performance skills are extraordinary, I’m sure fans are dying to know how long does it take to perfect certain
OS: It's hardly perfection, but we have all worked on our acts for a very long time, training over a number of years. Each 5 minute act might have years worth of training to get to the point they're at now. But, there is still always something new to learn!
CC: What does it take to endure such physical performances? Is there psychological training as well as the physical?
OS: Training. And lots of it. I guess in performance there is always a fair amount of psychological preparation, but when it comes down to it, a lot of it is about just running the show and getting your body used it. Also, because the whole cast has been performing for a long time already, the psychological side to performance isn't so scary!
CC: What is the next move for A4 Circus Ensemble?
OS: A4 already has a few things lined up for next year, including another visit to Adelaide Fringe, and a regional Victorian tour later on in the year!
CC: Have any of you suffered an injury as a result of your training and/or performances
OS: Apart from the constant scrapes, burns, and bruises, I've been lucky enough to avoid any major injuries so far, and hopefully that won't change anytime soon!
CC: Any advise that you can give to aspiring circus/theatrical performers?
OS: Train your heart out, and grab every single opportunity you can find. Don't get discouraged when not much is happening, circus is an industry where a lot can happen in a short time, like when I got the call from Zoe asking to be a part of A4!