I am blessed to have some wonderful friends. With those friends, I have experienced over the years many awesome events. Memorable occasions all.
Tonight, I was fortunate to add Cirque du Soleil to that illustrious list of memories. I have wanted to see Cirque du Soleil for many years; somehow, the opportunity never came to fruition. So, when my friend messaged me to ask me if I would be interested in joining him, my answer was an ecstatic “yes”.
In French, cirque du soleil means “circus of the sun”. The concept began in the early 1980s in a village on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City. A theatre troupe, founded by Gilles Ste-Croix, walked on stilts, juggled, danced, breathed fire and played music. These young entertainers, among whom was Cirque du Soleil-founder Guy Laliberté, constantly impressed and intrigued Baie-Saint-Paul’s residents. Ultimately, the talents of this theater group were sought by officials of the Quebec government to entertain the masses during the 450th anniversary celebrations of Jacques Cartier’s discovery of Canada.
I digress and confess: I did not know any of this before I took my seat in the Cedar Park Center. I had not done my research and only relied on my pre-fab comprehension, gleaned by a multitude of TV and radio commercials seen and heard over the years, of what the Cirque was all about.
I am not sure what I expected. I knew it was colorful and unique. That was about it.
The only concrete concept of the Cirque that I had was a connection to the circus. This could be because of the TV ads; it could be just me. A circus without the clowns; but still popcorn, cotton candy, and beer.
What greeted me when we took our seats was so much more amazing.
My first challenge, however, was to detect the story line behind the production. My friend had casually mentioned that there is supposed to be a story line behind each production but that it has mostly eluded him the many times that he has seen it on stage.
By intermission, I had determined that the story line was a typical tale of adventure, if not a love story by the end. The production of Cirque du Soleil that we saw was called Varekai.
With that challenge behind me, my attention wandered and focused on other extraordinary qualities:
- the production deftly combines the visual and auditory beauty and vibrance of theater and opera, with the thrill of a circus, the mystique of the ballet, and the light-heartedness of a comedy routine. All on one stage; something to please everyone.
- the incredible acrobatic feats of the performers are unlike anything I have ever seen before. Twisting, turning, jumping, flying, fluid, floating, stirring.
- the rainbow of colors, not only in the costumes but in the stage settings, add intensity, electricity, anticipation, playfulness to the mood of the entertainment.
- the music is mesmerizing, tribal, exhilarating. I wondered if Cirque du Soleil has produced their own musical collections. Of course, you know that I googled the minute I got home. And, of course they have, for every production. Check out and buy (like I did!) Varekai on Amazon or search it on Spotify.
All said, if you like theater, opera, musicals, dance, or just thrilling and unique entertainment, take the opportunity to see any production of Cirque du Soleil. It could open your eyes and transform your perspective, just like it did to me.
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