Last Tuesday night, March 29, the Husband and I went with my parents to see a Cirque du Soleil show called Ovo. Oh my! What to say to describe this? I had never seen Cirque before, and knew it was something very impressive and unique, but I don’t think I was prepared. And I’m not sure I can paint it for you if you’ve never seen one of their productions. But I shall try.
For starters, it was really like an old-fashioned circus in some ways. I think I was picturing something more like theatre, in a fancy hall, with the audience in their finery. And they do perform in concert halls and theatres sometimes; but this was a circus tent (“big top”) set up in a very large parking lot (at a horse-racing track). It sounded like a circus when we stepped inside (circus music!) andsmelled like one (popcorn!) and, well, it looked like a circus – bright colors and vendors and beer and wine in plastic glasses. The crowd was very diverse and variously dressed in more and less formal attire.
As expected, the performers were in outrageous costume. They were a troupe of various insects: grasshoppers, spiders, a ladybug, and more. And their tricks… wow. There were acrobatics and truly athletic feats of flexibility, balance, and strength – like a combination of gymnastics and dance and yoga. There was juggling, dancing, people being thrown in the air and caught and flipped… tumblers… tightropewalking… and a truly amazing trampoline act. There were trapeze artists swinging above our heads. (The Husband and I were both reminded of the Drive-by Truckers song The Flying Wallendas. Happily no tragedies this evening!) I had not expected to be thoroughly terrified by almost every act! But I was so thrilled and exhilarated, too. There is also a story involved, of the egg (ovo), and all the insects’ interest in it; and there is a love story. But really, this show is short on plot. And that’s okay; the acrobatics and skills and various performances are the whole point.
I’m so glad I got a chance to see this amazing show. It was a very special experience, and the performers are very, very special talented people (and some of them clearly have joints that bend in extra directions, but that’s another issue). What a treat! What a magical night! And how cool and interesting to see that circus performers are still around – I think I had sort of thought that this was a dying or dead industry, but I’m glad that it’s alive and well at least in the Cirque du Soleil company. I was also glad to not see any animal acts; I’m not sure I’m really up for the animal-cruelty questions in a traditional circus, and there was plenty of thrill with these human performers!