'Absinthe' act Water on Mars is juggling extraordinaire
Splish-splash, they were juggling a bath, long about a Saturday—plus every Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday—night. Or at least they’re juggling enough spraying water bottles to fill a tub. You’re thinking: Should I grab some soap and a back-scrubber and enjoy the shower?
Relax—though they’re named Water on Mars, demonstrating seemingly otherworldly juggling abilities at bawdy Absinthe, you’ll remain on a natural high, and very dry (mostly). They have it all under controlled chaos.
“It’s about escalating the juggling,” says Wes Peden, who along with Patrik Elmnert and Tony Pezzo comprises Water on Mars (the name connoting the thrill of discovery, as when the life-giving substance was spotted on the Red Planet), who joined Absinthe last December. “If we just stood here doing three-ball tricks, it doesn’t get more interesting. This is big, fast, complex juggling. The choices we make are to surprise you.”
Surprise is supreme when the elastic threesome emerges into the Absinthe tent, overstuffed with a rogue’s gallery of acrobats, high-wire walkers, novelty acts and not-for-kiddies comedy ruled by lewd, leering ringmaster The Gazillionaire.
“Juggling is about risk,” says Pezzo. “We take the risk to the next level, making the audience feel they’re part of that risk. They’re not sure how dangerous it is or what’s happening but it wakes them up and they get excited when stuff is flying over their heads.”
Flying stuff? More like supersonic blurs when the trio launches and snatches balls, rings, fluorescent clubs, open water bottles and streams of toilet paper while sprinting on and off stage and around the tent floor. “We are used to working in venues where the audience is separated from the stage,” says Elmnert. “Here we get to be with the audience and run around and it’s so nice seeing them.”
Strapping showmen and nearly lifelong practitioners of the juggling arts, the trio coalesced upon meeting at the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, Sweden. While Peden learned at the knee of his juggler dad, Pezzo focused on musical theater and dance, and Elmnert studied acrobatics and circus arts.
Precision and crack timing are critical, but arising onstage is joyful anarchy. While soaring rings, balls and clubs seem relatively contained, other items are airborne wild cards. “With water bottles, it’s chaotic and shows a ripple effect, like when a rock goes in the water you see the ripples. When you catch the water bottle, you see the explosion of the water,” Peden explains. “It makes something super different. It pops and explodes as you catch it.” Call it a spritz of excitement, different from the thrill of unspooling toilet paper.
“We do complex patterns that aren’t always easy to figure out,” Pezzo says. “But when we throw the toilet paper it’s very clear—oh, it went there and it’s coming down there because it’s rolling in the air. You can see the path.” Adds Peden: “A ball is always a ball. With toilet paper sometimes it’s big or small, expanding in the air and never makes the same shape. It’s abstract.”
Putting Water on Mars in simple perspective is Elmnert: “We want all our juggling to be new.” Splish-splash. They’re pouring you a bath. Long about five nights a week.
Caesars Palace, 8 & 10 p.m. Wed.-Sun., $99-$139 VVIP plus tax and fee, 18+. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster