Psyched for “Psy”

Let’s just start with the fact that I was never one for “cheap tricks” like juggling, or somersaulting, or, holy hell! — did he just front-flip off a two-story building?!

That being said, I now want to devote my life to following the 7 Fingers troupe around the country to watch shows like “Psy.” It was, hands down, the single most amazing thing I have ever seen. (And I watched “The Avengers.” Twice.)

The play (although the word “play” hardly can explain all the magnificent glory that was found on stage) started with a single trapeze artist slowly warming up inside his psychologist’s office. The music switched from French wine-tasting to dubstep, with the man going faster and harder with each beat … or wub … or whatever it is that makes up dubstep. The song ended, and the other performers revealed themselves. Every artist played a person with a different mental disorder. Some have OCD or hypochondria. Others are narcoleptic or addicts. While a few straggling audience members may not initially been impressed with fancy trapeze work, or backflips and handstands on top of people, not a single heart didn’t stop when Florent Lestage took le stage.

The world-renowned juggler/clown/human extraordinaire stole the first act in his brutally raw scene of a boy both romancing and begging in the streets of France. He was absolutely mesmerizing. Not only did he flawlessly juggle an unbelievable amount of pins, but he incorporated his signature cane into the routine, which turned an impressive act into pure magic. While he laughed before the show, joking about his “lack of technique,” what truly made Lestage, along with all the other performers that night, so amazing is that they made the show their own. There was a flavor to everyone’s work.

Everyone’s character reflected his or her acrobatic feats. The narcoleptic, played by the incredible Catherine Girard, would fall asleep on the Chinese pole with her partner, Jean-Philippe Cuerrier. The addict, Julien Sillau, battled with himself inside the German wheel. Danica Gagnon-Plamondon, the agoraphobic, wowed the audience with her trapeze skills.

One thing Lestage communicated, which was abundantly clear to the audience, was the camaraderie between performers. He described being on stage each night as being with a bunch of friends. Even though it is a physically demanding show, they get energy from it.

“You play on stage,” as he called it.

And they played, indeed. The show was not only impressive, but was also a lot of fun. Even during the sadder parts of the show, it was still kept light. There was still comedic relief when needed, but in general, the whole show was light-hearted while still managing to leave the audience breathless.

One of the neat things about this show was its ever-present storyline. There were full costume changes, developed characters, and a really rad set that would open and close to reveal a multilevel house inside. While the show focused on people overcoming their own inner demons in the form of common mental disorders, it was particularly inspiring to see each character come out on top, one by one.

While a little kid next to me murmured how all the sky-flying and knife throwing was all fake, I do want to point out how dangerous some of the stunts were. Lestage pointed out that in one of the previous shows, a man tore his tendon on stage, and finished the last act on one leg. There have been countless other injuries along the road, but, thankfully, Thursday’s show’s injury list only consisted of the audience’s minds being blown.

Rating: 5 out of 5