August 02, 2008

Cirque du Soleil - Corteo

Cirque du Soleil, the grandest circus act on Earth, was in town. I went to check out a show under the big top with some friends. After enjoying dinner for too long at Moxies, we rushed to the circus grounds. We were ushered into our seats inside the Grand Chapiteau just as the grandmaster was instructing everyone not to take any pictures and to turn off their phones. The large yellow and blue tent had been set up on the site of the former Vancouver Indy racing circuit in Vancouver near Science World. The flags of each country from which a Cirque performer originated in adorned the exterior, while the dimly lit interior featured a movable central stage with bleachers full of spectators on all sides. I was seated behind one of the poles that the performers used to climb to the top before indulging in daring high wire acts of whimsical fancy, but was quite close to the stage.

This particular show was called Corteo - a "celebratory procession" of a clown's funeral. The deceased clown, accompanied by angels, watches the proceedings from high above. The first and longer half of the show before the intermission was spectacular, with near perfect synchronization among the performers. A phenomenal degree of skill, dexterity, and strength was demonstrated while performers bounced from beds on rotating platforms, or spun themselves around in Cyr wheels. The second half was more toned down, featuring traditional circus items such as the trapeze. There was some interaction with the audience when a smaller-sized person (midget) attached to a hot air balloon came along and then was guided in different directions by enthusiastic pushes from members of the crowd. The two and a half hour long spectacle put on by the Circus of the Sun did not disappoint.