Antoine Carabinier talks about bringing his roots on stage in TABARNAK at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Antoine Carabinier
Name of Edinburgh show: Tabarnak
Venue: Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows (Venue 360) The Lafayette
Performance time: 19h
Show length: 70 min
Ticket price: 19,50

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I am originally from a small town in Québec called St-Alphonse-Rodriguez. That’s where I grow up with my sister and it’s where we did our creation for our shows. I went to the National Circus School of Montréal in 1998 for 3 years. After that I worked with several Québec companies – Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize, The 7 Fingers and so on. My parents, sister and I eventually decided to create our own company in 2005, and since then have been touring the world with Cirque Alfonse. Tabarnak is our 4th show.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Our company is inspired by tradition. We love our roots and we try to put them on stage. For Tabarnak we explored the divine. The church used to be very important in Québec. It was the centre point of the village and was where people gathered. That’s what we put on stage. We start in the basement of the church where now they have bazars, bingo and even wrestling matches! After that we go in to the main hall to finish in heaven! The show is acrobatic and musical, we have 3 live musicians with us and it’s all traditional folk music mixed with others influences.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We have been touring the show for a year now. We have performed it at The Adelaide Fringe, Paris, Milan and Barcelona and we are really looking forward to bringing it to Edinburgh!

I think the show is really relevant in the way the Church has changed so much since those days. We build circus schools in churches, condos, anything really – it’s so different and we want to explore those differences. It’s still a place with symbolic importance and a place where people can meet and celebrate.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
I think you need to know a bit in advance about what to expect. It can be pretty brutal if it’s your first time. Take a good bit of time off before and after the Fringe. For performers you need to be full on and don’t try to work on anything else at the same time. You need to be devoted and full on in the Fringe. It’s such a special and intense festival.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
We travel a lot with our show and I think the inspiration comes from the people we meet and the culture they have, to see the differences and embrace them instead of trying to be all the same.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes, before the show and the audience come in I knit to relax.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I definitely want to see all the Circus shows that are going to be at the Fringe, but there is a show that I especially recommend and it is Vertical Influences from the company Le Patin Libre. It’s an ice skating show that’s going to move you! They are playing at Assembly at Murrayfield Ice Rink.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
I think the way we do circus is quite different and original. We are the most Québec circus of Québec Circus!


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