Cirque Du Soleil Quidam Cincinnati Grand Chapiteau Front View Cirque Du Soleil Quidam Cincinnati Grand Chapiteau Side View

Trip Report: Cirque Du Soleil presents "Quidam"

Trip Report: Cirque Du Soleil - Quidam

Cincinnati, OH

August 27, 2006

Background:

Cirque Du Soleil is one of the hottest shows that has been sweeping the world for about 20 years now.  Cirque do Soleil, or Cirque for short has often been referred to as an avant-garde circus.  It's really a hard thing to describe becuase it is so unique, but here is a try.  Imagine a circus, lose the animal acts, lose the loud boistrous ringmaster, and instead take the circus arts like aerial acts, acrobatics, gymnastics and the like and perfect them to a new level.  Once you have that add a unqieu soundtrack of a brand new music type, and add in the best in broadway theatrics.  At that point you would come close to what Cirque is.

Even the name, "Cirque Du Soleil" means "Circus of the Sun" in French.   I think it would be fair to say that the performers consider themselves circus performers, just that its an all new kind of circus.  One of their first productions was titled "We Reinvent the Circus" Staying true to their cirus roots, they prefer to perform in their custom designed "Grand Chapiteau", French for "Big Top".  One can always tell when Cirque is in town becuase no one uses a Big Top quite like theirs.

Glancing at their history in the program, the Cirque story really is a rags-to-riches story.  They got their beginnings as street performers in Quebec, Canada. This may explain their fondness for French. Anyway, somebody noticed them and asked them to perform at a historically significant Canadian festival.  At said festival they were discovered, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Today Cirque has grown to include 7 traveling troupes, with each troupe presenting an entirely different show. In addition it is the hottest act in Las Vegas, with five casinos each offering a unique Cirque performance, and even Walt Disney World got in on the act and has their own exclusive Cirque show.

The Cirque is Coming to Town!

It was a big day here in Cincinnati, when it was revealed that Cirque was merely considering Cincinnati as a host city. The news anchors felt the need to caution people that it was still a 'maybe' and not a done deal.  The next question was where to have them set up their Grand Chapiteau, and a riverfront site was selected, conveniently nestled between Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ball Park, Freedom Center, and the Ohio River.  This site is supposedly going to be a thriving entertainment district someday.  Don't hold your breath, but the first official tenent of "The Banks" is Cirque.  Their tickets and brochures advertise Ciruqe as being at "The Banks" I've always wanted to see what Cirque is first hand, so now its coming to town, so that takes away any excuses I might have, its like they said "We can't make this any easier for you"  I was a bit concerned because price wise, Cirque compares to a fine Broadway play as opposed to a circus. I knew this would not be an inexpensive day out. So, what did I do?  I procrastinated, I waited to read the reviews in the paper, then I decided to get some tickets.  I was a bit concerned when I went ticket shopping on August 25 as the times I wanted to see Cirque, it was either sold out, or the only seats left were on the far sides, in the back or both, and that was if they weren't behind a support mast.

I suppose a word about pricing is in order.  Cirque offered three price categories.  To explain the categies, you have to understand that they play on a round stage in the center of the tent, however it is not true theater in the round becuase along one wall sits the band as well as access to the backstage areas.  I would say that leaves about a 270* ring of seats around the stage. The seats are divided into several sections, and there is a walkay about halfway up that seperated the seats into upper and lower sections.  The "cheap seats" are the Cateogry 3, and they are the end sections in the upper half ($35).  I had been warned to avoid Cateogory 3 at all costs. The next two sections in on the upper half are Category 2 ($60), and the remaining upper half seats, and all lower half seats are Cateogry 1 ($70).  Since I had been told to avoid Category 3, I decided for a $10 difference to go ahead an go with Category 1. I also noted the cneter two sections on the lower half were marked on thier borchure as being reserved for what they call their "Tapis Rouge" (I'm guessing "Red Carpet") experience. "Tapis Rouge" contains all kinds of perks, like free reserved parking, exclusive entrance, coat check, access to the Tapis Rouge tent where they serve snacks and beverages before the show, desert during the intermission and offer some music and a chance to see the performers in an up close intimite setting, not to mention some gifts like a free program, and a CD of Cirque music that can only be obtained in the Tapis Rouge tent.  The Tapis Rouge VIP Experience was retailing for $180 per person.  I decided not to go for the VIP upgrade.

Anyway, back to purchasing tickets, After getting the show I wanted was out of the question, and things started looking bleak, I started with the next available show looking at tickets.  One show offered Cat 1 upper center, but it was behing a big black box in the seating chart, so I was concerned their might be an obstruction, so I tossed those back,  Next show I looked at had some Cat. 1 in a lower side section, and they probably would have been fine seats. I was att the point where you are dealt a good poker hand, do you stay pat, or do you discard and try for better.  I discarded, crossed my fingers, and clickied on Sunday 8/27/06 at 1pm, two seats, best available. I almost needed to be pinched when it offered my seats in section 102, Row D. That's lower center, and according to my seating chart were in the VIP section.  I checked the offer price, still $70 per seat.  Okay, so I don't get the VIP perks, but I get the preffered seating.  I had my credit card out, and those seats purchased before Ticketmaster knew what hit it. Okay, its not really Ticketmaster, its Admission.com, but look up who owns Admission.com - Ticketmaster. Soon I was printing out some TicketFast E-Tickets.

Ok, now is the time to get excited, we even took a drive downtown the night before to make sure we knew exactly how to get to the tent, and its parking lot.  So, fast foward to the morning of Sunday August 27.  With the showing starting at 1pm, I had heard the gates open at noon, so we planned to be pulling into the parking lot at around 11:45. Which, more or less, is what we did, we followed the directions given to us and parked at Paul Brown Stadium in Lot D.  Lot D is the surface lot that is between the Staium and the base of the Suspension Bridge, the Cirque was right on the other side of the Suspenion Bridge.  It really was easy-in,easy-out parking for which the City of Cincinnati collected a $10 parking fee. We saw some new asphault, so it looks like a side benefit is they made Lot D just a tad bit bigger.  Owing to our ealry arrival we were almost able to park right up alongisde the base of the Suspension Bridge, not far at all from the Tapis Rouge people who got to go through a second gate inside the parking lot to go to a new small lot between the bridge and the Grand Chapietau. We exited our car, stepped out on the sidewalk, and walked the short walk to the event gate.

They have errected a chain link fence all around the event area, with one public entrance point.  I noted the gate is setup so that it holds brochures, as well has a large seating chart and performance shecule posted on it, there are placed in such a way that they are still available even if the gate is closed.  We entered the gate, and followed the short path around a right hand corner and headed to the entrnace plaza.  Not to far in front of us was a podium where they were selling programs ($13), CD's ($21), and DVDs ($31).  I just went with a program for now and it semmed just as I purchased my prgram the ticket gates were opened. To help move people smoothly into the event, they have divided the Grand Chapietau into sections, and then assigned each seat a 'Door number", there are 8 "doors" total and your door number tells you where to best enter the Grand Chapiteau.  But wait, you aren't entering the Grand Chapiteau yet, you are entering the entrance tent first.  To ease the crowd, they have to idential entrance tents, one for the odd numbered entrance doors, and the other for the even numbered entrance doors.  Both entrance tents flank a trailer holding a box office.  At the other end of the entrance plaza set off on its own is the special Tapis Rouge VIP entrance. We had been instructed to enter through Door 4, which meant we had to go to the other entrance tent.  So we walked past the box office, passed another podium selling programs and into the entrance tent.  At the opening of the tent they have a row of ushers using wireless palm devices to scan and verify tickets.  Our tickets verified we were weclomed into the entrance tent.  

We are now at the Cirque

The entrance tent is a round affair, in the center surrounding the center mast is the cashiers station, as well as some video monitors.  The video monitors play segments of their various shows. One one side of the entrance tent is their gift shop, selling a full range of shirts, hats, masks, books, CD's, DVD's, posters, umbrellas, and much more. On the other side of the entrance tent is the concession stand.  I took a look at the concession stand and lost my appetite. The only thing under $4 was movite-theater size candy for $3.50. Pepsi - thats $5 for the small, same for the popcorn. Hot pretzels for $4.50, hot dogs for $4.75.  I think I may have found the only people that can make ballgame concessions look like a good deal. It was going to be a hot day anyway, nearing 90 degrees outside, and with all the body heat building up in the entrance tent, we moved ahead into the unshaded courtyard.  I like the attractive naturl wood colored fencing they use for the interior fences.  Behind me are the entrance tents, ahead of me is the Grand Chapiteau.  I am standing in a courtyard with entirely too few park benches. Around the sides of the courtyard are several white trailers which hold the restrooms.  I only mention it becuase for a portable attraction these are fully plumbed restrooms, fully stocked and clean. To my right I can see the Tapis Rouge tent with its own private terrace area with comfortable furniture and its own private restroom trailer. To my left I can see all the serivce tents and trailers.  These are probably the living and practice areas for the troupe, then there are some more tents behind the main tent, which is probably the backstage area. About halfway around on either side are small concession tents.

Now to look at the The Grand Chapiteau.  It like all the other tents are done up in a blue and yellow color scheme.  From the outside it looks more rectangular than round, and the color scheme certainly helps call attention to it.  Rising out of the top are the for main mastpoles, and atop each one a flag.  The four falgs are: Cirque Du Soleil flag (a stylized sun), United States flag, Canada flag, and Quebec flag. Lining the top of the sidewalls of the tent is a row of world flags which if I had to guess, represent the home nations of the performers as they come from 15 or more different nations. Coming down from the tent like feet are covered legs that conceal the entry stairs.  At the bottom of each stairway is clearly printed the door number as well as the house rules (No phones, No cameras, No Camcorders, No Smoking).

We wait around in the courtyard until just after 12:30 when the Grand Chapiteau opens.  We head to our assigned doorway and then proceed uinto the tent and up a set of open frame metal stairs.  I think they could do with more lighting on both the stairs and the seating bowl during seating, intermission and after the show. We enter the Grand Chapiteau and it manages to look a lot smaller and more intimate on the inside.  A frienly usher leads us down a more sustanional stairway inside the tent down to our seats.  I am pleased to say they are all chairback seats, with some padding on the bottoms. There are no armrests and the seats are a bit on the narrow side, but I found the seating to be surprisingly comfortable for a circus tent.  I had time to explore the tent with my eyes, and the inside is in sharp contrast to the outside, I had already said that it seems a lot smaller on the inside, in addittion to that the garrish yellow/blue color scheme does not continue on the inside.  The inner sidewalls are a subdued shade of blue, and the ceiling has been painted as if you are looking up at a starry night sky. On the inside it is very attractive.  I noticed a large metal framework that runs along the ceiling, and would have to investigate that later.  I looked up and say that large black box in the center of the upper center section is the engineers booth, and would not have obstructed my view. In front of me was a round stage with slopes sides leading down to the seating bowl.  I noted a couple stairways to allow audience access to the stage.  Behind the stage was a back area that holds the band as well as acccess to the backstage areas.  

To help break the ice while you wait, some of the performers mill about the audinece.  The ones I found creeepy are the ones who are dressed up head to tow in a solid white garment,  When I say head to toe, I mean the only part of their skin visible is a small opening for their eyes.  They look sort of like ghosts or mummies. Shortly before the show begins a man comes on stage (I know that true Cirque fans, and the Ciruq website gives character names, but since they aren't used in the show, nor are they printed in the program, I am going without them) anyway, this man is the closest thing they have to a ringleader.  He starts by mingling with the audience, then as show time nears he actually steps into the role of usher and starts showing people to his seat, all the time making a show of tapping his watch.   Warning, he who arrives late can be embarassed. But even though he looks at the persons tickets is no assurance he will lead them to the correct seats, clowns can be playful like that.  In our show, he took one couple who entered far off on the even side, walked them all the way over to the odd side, then took them back to the even side to seat them.  Another couple he started to do the same thing, but when he got over to the odd side, he started walking towards the front, and proceeded to walk up on stage.  It took some encouragement from the audience before the innocent couple would "Come on up on stage" He then got then center stage, got the audience to give them a round of applause, then started to lead them OUT of the tent! Well he let the man out of the tent, then he even closed the tent flaps behind the hapless man, then proceeded to seat the woman, taking the mans seat, until the man meekly walked back in with a "What do I do now" look and went to claim his seat.  The man then got up on stage.   On stage was a door in a doorframe, a lamp with a whimsical looking base, and two large easy chairs on either side of a round rug.  Next to one easy chair was a endtable with the oddest looking radio.  The man proceeded to sit down in the chair and turn on the radio.   Some comedy enssued as apparently changing the channel required both fiddling with the knobs and bending the fleixible antenna.  The radio  played several pieces of music, with the man making faces, until he landed n one channel.   The radio then got very loud and the annocements were made.  The announcemts started in French "Madames and Messuers..." but quickly changed to Enlish for practicality.  They welcomed us to the grand Chapiteaus, repeated the house rules of no smoking, recording, or cameras, then stressed for the safety of the performers, especially no flash pictures. They added a blurb that the City asks there be no standing or sitting in the aisles, he then announced there would be one 30 minute intermsision.  The man then turned off the radio, and exited through the door to backstage.  The lights went out for a few brief seconds then the show began.

Ok already, here is the actual show review!:

According to the prgram, Quidam is a faceless person, a psser-by, anybody.  The story is that the young girl is angry and disillusioned at her regular mundance life, that is until the day Quidam drops by and provides the means to take her to his fantasy world.  If the storyline sounds familar, its the same plot device that has figured  into timeless classics, like Wizard of Oz, or Alice in Wonderland. Don't get too wrapped up in the plot, as it really isn't what the show is about.

The show starts in the dark, mere seconds after the man has left the stage from making his safety announcements.  Mere seconds the stage lights come back on and we ae looking at the typical family.  The husband is in his easy chair reading the newspaper, the wife is in her chair working doing gsome craftwork.  The girl sits on the carpet between them, decidedly bored and overlooked.  That is until a stranger arrives at the door.  The stranger must be the lead Quidam figure.  Quideam is a mysterious figure, a tall giant with no head.  Oh he carries a hat and an umbrella, but he is decked out in his suit and hat but is just missing a face.  He gives his hat to the little girl, and that sets the gears in motion.  The chairs holding the parents rise up into the air as the parents are swept away with the rest of the house furnishings Oddly, enough the husbands shoes remain on the floor, and are taken by the ringmaster type man who was interacting with the audience before the show. He will be the guide through this fantasy land.

Then all of a sudden, the fantasy begins.  The first circus act is something the program calls "The German Wheel".  Its a large wheel, not unlike a hamster wheel, except that it isn't on any supports and is free to roll about the stage.  This performer opens his act by rollling the wheel (with him inside of course) at high speed right for the audience, and it appears that he is going to roll clean off the end of the stage.  Of course, he manages to stop just in the nick of time.  "That's an attention getter!" Here is pure gymnastics skill as he is able to roll and even turn somewhat to bring the wheel to any point of the stage he wants, and as if rolling backwards and forwards ins't enough for you, he the starts spinning the wheel edge on, similar to if you stand a coin up on a table top and spin it, the whole wheel them starts to wobble and tilt just like the coin would, but it is clear he is on control of the wheel at all times, no matter how awkward the position is.  The artistry comes from the fact that he can do this while having it appear to be totally effortless. This is a great start to set yo up for all the circus style acts to come. During this time there is also a man walking on stage at first he appears to be walking, then you realize he is more gliding as he doesn't pick up his feet.  Closer inspection reveals a stage trick, as the entire stage is a giant turntable.  Unlike other magicians who would try to disguise the turntable, here the pattern of the table makes it obvious, and the performers use the turntable to great effect.  Also during this time a person dressed up like the Statue of Liberty comes out and stands near the edge of the stage, except this person is wearing a veil so it only look skind-of like the Statue of Liberty.  Don't know what that's all about.

After the German wheel act, we have the girl sitting at the foot of the stage while a series of perofrmers walks past her on either side of her playing progressivley larger and louder drums.  These between act seques are strange and I'm sure someone who is more into Cirque than I could interpret them.  Oh, and remember the faceless people I mentioned were roaming the audience before the show, they apparently are also stage hand type people, or are support people who stay off in the background.  You never hear from them, you can only see their eyes, and they move in a unifrom step.  No personality, no voice, no unique appearance, truly a faceless dehumaanized group. I should also mention there is no spoken dialogue throughit the entire show.  After the opening announcements no one speaks another line, nor are there any more announcements, sure there are vocal parts in with the soundtrack, but thats about it.  Very little of the soundtrack is in English which helps add to the surreal feeling.

The next act really impressed me.  A group of young girls came out on stage and started playing with what loks like an overzised spool balanced on a string. They start by bobbing the spool up and down gently, but you are still unsure if the spool is connected somehow.  As the act goes on however, they start bouncing the spools up higher and higher, appearing to sometimes go all the way up to the roof before they come back down.  Then they start passing spools to each other like jugglers, sometimes behind their backs or while doing flips.  What made the act even better is they were absolutely flawless, I didnt notice one spool not get caught.  Not even a near miss. It is truly a messmerizing talent.

After the spool act whihc the program refers to as "Diabolo" there is another strange seque as a man with a pair of wings strapped to his back walks accross the stage.  Not flys accross, walks accross, like he has the ability to fly, but is not realizing his potential.  Is this part of some hidden message?  After this a a boxer comes out and when he hits his gloves together it causes thunder and lightning in the tent. He screams to add to the confusion, or is he afraid of his own powers?

They then decide to slow things down a bit, with some vaudevillian style comedy.  We learn of another stage trick.  The stage has sme manhole shaped trapdoors that allow people or things to pop up out of nowhere.  We see a clown struggle to climb out of the manhole, then he reaches back into the manhole and pulls out a chair, and then another chair, and finaly a rose.  We wait to see what he is going to do with them.  He sets the chairs up center stage side by side, and then pantomimes getting into and driving a car, complete with radio on and bouncing up and down in the chair to indicate motion.  He then stops the car, gets out, and selects an attractive female volunteer from the audience.  It took the audiience volunteer some time to really get into the act.  He pantomines walking her to the car, where she gets in without opening the car door.  Time for a do-over.  Gets her in the car, then se won't unlock his door, so he has to walk around to her door, reach over and act like he is unlokcing his door.  Gets in the car, takes a few attempts to get her to do the bouncing up and down in the seat thing.  Eventually she sort of catches on.  They get stuck in a traffic jam.  The clown honks the horn several times.  (a car horn sounds each time), he motions for her to hit the horn, she doesn't at first but when she does, the car horn sticks on for several seconds.  The act goes on he takes her out to a park under the stars (and little star ligts light up all along the ceiling grid) The act is that they are on a date, but she is playing hard to get.  I think he eventually gave up and drove her home.  (Of course not before she can manage to shatter the car window, break the door, and other comic effects.  Hey she did get to keep the rose as a free souvenir.

Back to the fantasy world, and we see the father apparently just walking in midair, still reading the newspaper.  We also learn what the overhead metal grid is for, it sfor an elaborate rig to move set pieces and/or aerial aritsts and equipment on and off the stage.  The stage wall above the band area is soft and pliabel to allow people and things t float gracefully on and off stage.  Anyway the father walks in midair still reading the paper, and Zoe comes out on the other side on a trapeze swing.  The ringleader is on stage below acting as if he is talking into a megahpone. Eventualy the father gets a clue and rips the newspaper to shreds and as this is show business one of the faceless stage hands happens to roll a fan accross the stage just in time to ensure the paper shreds don't land on the stage. This is a leadup to one of the shows signature acrs the "Aerial Contortion in Silk"  

This act involves to lengths of sheer red fabric suspended from the overhead trolleys, hanging on to the fabric in a truly effortless pose is a contortionist.  The contortionist is able to wrap themsleves up around the fabrc stands several different ways and assume several interesting positions.  Maybe more noteworthy they wear a body suit costume that is desinged to make them look like they are performing in the nude, even though they really aren't.   As with the other acts, the positions the person assumes get more and more elaborate as the act goes on.  Pure strength and agility required here, again with the grace to make it look like it is effortless.  The Cirque performers are truly at the tops in their crafts.  At the end of the act the contortionist is on stage and is carried away by the mother.

There is a little seque piece where the ringmaster guy plays with a hoop, acting like it is a hula hoop, and also spinning them on some sort of wierd hangar attached to his hat.  Then another performer we haven't seen yet strolls accross the wstage wildy wavng sparklers around in a fire act. Ather that squeue the maina ction becomes a jump rope team.  There is all manner of speed jumping and trick jumping, even some double dutch.  Its enough to take you back to the school playground, and yet the jump rope artists themselves are, of course, outstanding in their craft. The act ends on a funny note when one of the jumpers doesn't leave the stage, wanting his own limilight until the ringmaster ushers him off.

The last major act of the first half involved another gymnstics staple, the large hoops.  Suspended from the overhead trolley system ore several hoops, and at one time three performers are swinging from the same hoop.  They then take seperate hoops, and proceed to amaze with theiy agility and strnegth.  At the eond of this act, you notice the performers who have been holding baloons for some time now decide to release them into the air, some of which get caught by a large floating birdcage.  Bring in a hgh energy clown act, then its time for Intermission.

Intermission

As advertised, Intermission is 30 minutes long, and you need all 30. Today, perhaps owing to the 90 degree heat, perhas owing to a malfucntioning air conditioner, people couldn't wait to get outside to the courtyard.  It was an interestng debate on if it was hotter inside or out, but as I said people were coming out dripping wet, and as most people like me dressed under the belief that it was a climate controlled tent kept at 70 degrees, and that we were dressed for the theater, it was not exactly pleasant.  Inside the entrance tent they could not sell $4 bottles of water fast enough.  They literally opened up water only/cash only lines to try to get the people through in time.  Okay, here is how desperte they were to get people through the lines, they set a till down on a part of the concession counter, and the person working it, left the till unguarded, as she went back and forth between the till and the refrigierator.  Clearly the message here is that the custmer comes first, they know they could have a serious overheating/fainting/dehydration issue if they don't do something, so they would rather risk getting a little bit of cash stolen than deal with sick or upset patrons.  It may have looked stupid at the time, especially in this day and age, but I think it sends the right message.

So I went to the Entrance Tent and bought water for both Mom and I, as well as a copy of the Quidam DVD.  I just barely made it back to the tent boefre the second half started.  I noticed they must have gotten the air conditioner to cooperate as they were keeping the tent flaps closed trying to anything to get the air to start to circulate and cool things down.  I mut admit the second half was a little bit cooler than the first half, but by then the damage had been done.

Act Two:

The second act begins, and you see arrayed on the stange a set of very small looking stands on poles sticking out of the stage.  Upon those stands you will soon see a performer balancing from them, then contorting to assume all kinds of eleborate poisitons, all the while the stage turntable is spinning, Which means that she and the stands were spinning. I did note they stopped the turntable for any mounts or dismounts. As if that weren't enough you see some other chacaters rolling around on the stage face down on skooterboards.

We then move to a dart juggling act, by the ringleader, who is wearng some sort of dartboard hat.  I don't know if its a show mistake or not, but most of the darts landed on the dartboard, but one landed and stuck into his shoulder blade.  Don't know if that was planned or not. In a classic case of misdirection a psychadellic looking spiral wheel starts spinning behind him on the stage, and you hink he is going to throw the darts at the hyptnotizing wheel instead of his hat.

This leads up to another feature act, the Spanish Web.  Okay, lets take 5 performers, and give them nothing but a rope n midair to hang from.  They are able to manuever up and down the ropes with ease, one even climbed from the stage to the roof with just his arms. They starrt conorting into strange positions, cleverly tying the rope aorund them as they appear to just hang in midair.  Towards the end they even start creating a web by tangling up the ropes.  The "Attention Getter" moment in this act is two girls, they climb to the tops of the rops, then the trolleys take them out over the audience, they then start rolling down the rope so fast you think they are going to fall right into the audience.  They fall over the lowewr center sections, and when the one stopped above me, I thought she was close enough I could reach up and touch her.  Yep, that is a definite attention getter when an aerilist stops mere feet from your head.

We get a cameo appearance by Quidam, sort of a "Hey, remember me from Act 1" appearence. Then we are treated to another signature moemnt the human statues.  Basically it ends up beng two contortionist who possess enough strenght that one is able to support the other.  They mnage to remain very still just like statues, and hold what appears to be a painful pose that takes a loft of strength, and yet has a very classic artisit beuaty about it, just like you were looking at some statues in a fne art museum.

After that exhuastng act, the clown act for the second act takes place.  In this one he gets 4 audience volunteers, and proceeded to attem[pt to film a silent movie with an old time movie camera.  Recall they he communicates ony in pantomime, and he gives each person rediculously complex parts to play, let alone remember.  As you can imagine things don't work out well.  and it takes several 'takes' to get the shot.  In our show, the one guy had the farily easy job of just counting the takes and hitting a clappboard.  He soon got promoted when the guy who was to be the uninvited boyfirend type can't remember what he is supposed to do.  It even takes him a while to figure out how to count takes, and this is with the audience helping him.   When the clown gets fed up and fires his move cast, you might say it was a permanent firing.  As you may have guessed unless you like getting humiliated in front of 2,600 of your closest friends, you don't want to be an audience volunteer here.

The last aerial act involved something the program calls a Cloud Swing, I don't relaly get the point of the woman swinging back and forth, while girls on the stage are holding a rope up to their thorats while acting like they are stangling themselves. at this point the band starts making their presnece known.

The last major act is the classic acrobatic act, where people form human pyramids and human towers and that kind of thing, starting out by just doing all kinds of somersults and backflips, and eventualyy creting a real tall human tower as each ones jumps up atop the one before.

After this act, I knew the show was about to end when we see Quidam on the stage again, and he wants his hat back.  No, not the magic hat, you know what that means - everybody out of the pool!  Fantasy time is over. The ringleader guy returns the fathers shoes to him and thats it, the end of the circus.  At this time the overhead trolleys bring out a large red stage curtain.  Its time for the curtain calls.  One of the most emotional moments of the curtain calls is when its time for the stagehand crew or the faceless dehumanized group to take their bows.  Theey come out still dressed in full body suits, with just the eye slits, then right before their bow they remove their headcoverings revealing their true selves.  Can you say there is some kind of redemption there, and they went from beng a faceless nobody to being somebody? Then there are the normal curtain calls, and of course the standing ovation, then all of a sudden, its' over.

Here is where people file out of the tent amazed at what they have just seen, this is the kind of shock and awe I like!  You then try to explain it to your firends.  I mean its such a fantasic experience, but it is so surreal that is seems to defy description. HAving already bought the DVD we were able to sail through the Entrance Tent nopn stop, and on our way through the entrance plaza, they had the program/cd/dvd podiums setup.  We walked back to our car with no problem, and had no trouble getting out on the road to head back home.

All in all, I would rate the show an Excellent, I was totally blown away by it.  Now I know why Cirque is so popular.


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