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Les Frères Taquins


Les Freres TaquinsLes Frères Taquins

A mannequin come to life, find his wits, and fall in love in the sawdust of a circus ring.

Mime Olivier Taquin uses the element of surprise to great effect in his act. Taquin came to the Play On! season without his usual performance partner, so he enlisted the help of Big Apple regular Valdis Yanovskis to play the straight man next to Taquin's coy mannequin. Three times during the first half of the show, Yanovskis physically carries a real mannequin that is dressed and made-up like Taquin through the ring between acts. The audience comes to think of this mannequin as a staple of the show, so when Yanovskis carries the mannequin out a fourth time and it comes to life, there's an element of surprise. Once Taquin starts to transform into a live person, his devilish nature takes over and he begins to give Yanovskis a hard time. For instance, When Yanovskis tries to push Taquin's left arm down, the mime's right arm shoots up and knocks Yanovskis in the head. Soon, Taquin's character falls in love with a beautiful woman in the audience. He winks to Yanovskis, silently beseeching him to retrieve her to the ring. The piece ends with Taquin learning to dance — and becoming more human in the process — alongside the beautiful woman.

"It's a totally unique act," says Big Apple Founder Paul Binder. Les Freres Taquin is the longest act in the show, save for the flying trapeze act. At one point in the season, Taquin decided to shave off some running time in an effort to sharpen his act. "Olivier is quite good at listening to the audience, hearing and seeing when they react to him and making changes. He's a true professional," says Binder.

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Les Frères Taquins

Watch an excerpt from Olivier Taquin's performance as the mannequin that comes alive.