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La Nouba

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La Nouba




Aerial Bamboo
Dance Interlude
Cycles (BMX)
Aerial Cradle
Silk Ballet
Rola Bola
Flying Trapeze
Power Track

Cyr Wheel

Chair Balancing
German Wheel
Balto & Sergey
Jump Rope




Balto & Sergey
(Main | Dec.23.1998 - Apr.19.2014)

Serguei Chachelev (also spelled Sergey Shashelev) and Michel "Balto" Deschamps were with La Nouba for 15 years, since the very beginning. But even more amazing than the longevity, Sergey, one clown in the duo, is deaf, while Balto, his other half, is French-Canadian. In spite of the communication barriers, the pair ultimately came up with 120 acts during three months of show prep; Franco Dragone, the show's Creative Director, picked five of them to feature in “La Nouba.”

In the first, "Clowns in Space", the pair simulate landing on the surface of an asteroid, to mine an unsuspecting ore of rock. The backdrop of the set becomes a mountain... and with pick-axe in hand, the duo make the climb. But all it takes is one foul up with the axe and they've lost their air supply tank! Reaching the top of the mountain (which is no small feat; c'mon, clowns with an axe), the pair extricate a nice specimen... which they then fight over. The fight ends with neither astronaut getting the prize. Instead, they both watch as it floats away into the rafters of the theater where... bzzzzzzzt... it shorts out the show! (This routine follows "High Wire".)

In "Clown as a Guitarist", Balto rises from the depths of the stage (much to the other characters' surprise) with a strange picture frame in hand, with a spider web motif strung up inside. Once the chaos around him calms, Balto settles and smoothly plucks the strings of his web like a bass violin. Finding success (and audience approval), Balto licks his chops and fervently tickles the strings again, which howl now like only an electric guitar could. As he wails on his "guitar" with wild abandon, becoming lost in the rock-in-roll glory of the moment, he misses when the string breaks. When he realizes what has happened he stands up and motions "cut" to the guitarist above ("sor-ry.") The illusion now shattered, Balto bends down to pick up the frame... and changes the mood. No longer a rock and roll legend, Balto becomes a pesky little fly precariously buzzing around the spider's web. His hand... the spider! You can imagine what happens next: "the fly" gets stuck in the web and the spider gleefully comes for his catch. The spider's frantic movements over his nose cause Balto to sneeze, breaking the moment. Balto - no longer the fly - is able to pull himself free of the web. But another last-minute sneeze finds him caught within the spider's web again as the moment comes to a close. (This routine follows "Diabolos".)

In "That Darn Chair", Sergey brings two lounge chairs to the stage, looking for a place to set them down for a nice respite. But... he has a little trouble setting them both down in this light-hearted, classical comedic act. (This routine follows "BMX/Cycles".)

In "The Wild West", Balto and Sergey play Cowboys and Indians (one - Balto - is an old western sheriff while the other - Sergey - is a plains Indian complete with teepee), the epitome of childhood. The scene begins with Sheriff Sergey attempting to "get the drop" on Sergey the Indian (who's just come on the scene) by jumping out from behind a bush, but the Sheriff doesn't realize he's hidden behind a cactus. (Yeouch!) The laughter rolls on as the Indian takes hold of the Sheriff's gun and shooting him in the foot! This sets off a hilarious duel between them whereby the sheriff, quick to the draw, finds he has no more bullets to shoot and the Indian, well, attempts to impale the sheriff with his trusty bow and arrow only to constantly come up short. In cartoon-like fashion, the Indian takes his last arrow over to the sheriff to impale him, winning the duel. But as they say: it ain't over until it's over, and suddenly a phone rings. The Indian answers it (from under the teepee) and discovers the call is for the sheriff. The Sheriff takes the call only to have the receiver blow up in his face! But as the Indian makes his escape (back down the stage lift), the Sheriff throws an arrow down after him and hits his target. (This routine follows "Flying Man in Silk".)

And lastly in "The Baby Buggy", Balto (dressed as a mother) pushes a rather large baby carriage on stage. Hilarity ensues as the baby throws items out of the buggy, much to his mother's chagrin. As she winds up to throw them back him, he points out the audience which gives him pause. Looking to hide the evidence, she places them in her shirt, recreating a hefty-sized bosom. Now pleased with herself, she attempts to rock the baby again, only to get beat over the head with a bottle for her trouble. Mom get's the last laugh though when the baby hands him the receiver of a ringing telephone; she tosses it back into the carriage just before it explodes. A singed baby Sergey flies a white flag as the pair depart the stage. (This routine follows "Balancing on Chairs".)

Of course, they tickle our funny bones before the show too by taking turns directing unsuspecting ticket holders to their seats, or at least somewhere in the theater (and sometimes on stage). And they also try to move a cart of big giftwrapped boxes from one place to another... you can guess the difficulty there.


• "Château Perdu"
• "Cow-cus"
• "Les Astronautes"
• "Tout Mêlé"

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