A long time ago, in a country far to the north of where I grew up, a man had a vision: to bring art, the circus acts and wonder to the masses by including elements of technology and folklore. The show transcended taming lions or showcasing freaks, it focused on the struggle of the human spirit and skipped the animal cruelty portion, introducing a concept that was new and novel to the Western world. (Check the Wikipedia link for more info.) In this magical and colorful world of Cirque du Soleil you become a part of the show as they break the theatrical “fourth wall” to address and entertain the audience. Each individual character is designed to provoke a reaction and convey an element of the theatrical performance. Their gift for costume design is legendary and a must see during your lifetime which is an easy thing to do because they are a worldwide traveling circus. Woop woop!
My first show under the Grand Chapiteau or Big Top was Varekai. This was one of their traveling shows, years after they had established permanent venues in Las Vegas and other locations in North America. The top was bright red and the spectacle of Icarus’ rise and fall was colorful and full of soulful music. The acts ranged from jugglers, magicians and gymnastics to flying couples using silk ropes and harnesses to delight us with aerobatics. It was one of the most captivating experiences I had had until we saw the show Ka at the MGM Grand. Their ability to create a moving, floating 3k ton+ stage was a true feat of science and engineering only matched by the beauty and myth of the story it helped elevate. There wasn’t a person I talked to that didn’t feel cajoled to see a show after meeting me. It’s that good!
The show itself is more music and pantomime than worded script so it is very good for kids and introverts like me who can let their imaginations run wild. Even though the last show I watched didn’t captivate me, the engineering behind it did impress me almost as much as Ka’s. Sitting inside the climate controlled tent with my refreshments at hand, I had to wonder what the future held for this production of Luzia (it was a bit hard to follow because the stage was too busy to be enjoyed from close range) and how it would influence the performances that will follow it.
Recalling how much more we enjoyed the simpler and not as technical Cirque at the Symphony, I think this franchise is very well cemented and timeless so it won’t need incredible feats of engineering to continue to shock, awe and inspire the next generation. You just have to peruse their offerings and there’s sure to be a show that flies your fancy. Check out the Cirque website for tickets and showings. Do not miss an opportunity to experience the modern circus, Canadian style!