Cirque

The Lizard Man stole my popcorn.

That is how I kicked off my latest Cirque Du Soleil experience.  I went to see “Amaluna” on Friday in the matinee performance.  I have experienced the Cirque many times and anticipated great things from this show.  It it loosely based on the Tempest, is very femme-centric and who can resist all the bendy and boing-y capers the troupe get up to?

I am sad to say I was a little disappointed.  The art direction wasn’t the best I have ever seen, nor was the costuming (with some very notable exceptions).  It seemed like there were times that there was just too much activity on the stage, perhaps to distract from the fact that the performances were not as complicated and mind blowing as I have seen before.  I should temper all of this by saying that the experience was still miles about your average show and there is a good chance that I am prejudiced by the very fact that I have been lucky to have seen as many of their previous efforts as I have.  All theatre troupes, writers and performers have superlative performances and those that don’t quite hit the stratosphere.  This show is amongst the latter.

I will digress at this point to mention some things that I am finding about performances in general. First of all:

Shut.  The Hell. Up.

I will forgive the excited eight year old squirming beside me.  This whole experience was clearly new to her, and her squeals of delight were unsupressable.  But the twenty-somethings sitting behind me that took it upon themselves to do a descriptive video commentary for the whole show (“She’s walking the tight rope in high heels!!!”) and explain to one another the very action unfolding in front of them do not warrant such forgiveness.  Nor do I wish to find out what Kristen (or Krysten, or Chrisyenne, or Xristyn or whatever fancy spelling of a completely acceptable name you may insert here) said after the party to Brandon (or Brendan or Brendyn or Brhendann) while the lights are fully down that the games have begun.  Lights dimming before a performance is the international symbol for shutthefuckupnow, is it not?  So do.  Texting through the performance bathed in the soft blue glow of your smart phone is far more distracting that you think. And while I am glad you have the new iPad mini, turn it off and play with it later when you are in the sanctity of your local hipster coffee saloon.

A I mentioned I was at the matinee, and I should have been prepared for the vast number of children in the audience. I think it is a great thing to introduce children to new experience that will stimulate them intellectually and emotionally but I really wonder about exactly what parents are thinking when they drag small offspring to shows like this.   First of all, clowns are scary.  They just are.  Even the benevolent ones.  (I can prove it. Let’s play a little word association game.  Cat ->Dog.  Black->White.  Clown->Evil.  You said evil didn’t you?  I know you did.)

A savvy seven year old would have enjoyed the performance but there were parts of the narrative that they would miss.  I suspect a two year old would get very little from it, save a possible commitment to a future of long term therapy.  And I can assure the couple that brought their infant (who probably made the earth shattering discovery that he had feet about a week ago) that he is gleaning nothing from the proceedings and it just appearing as a particularly noisy and wiggly sidebar to the actions on stage.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from seeing the Cirque.  It is highly entertaining and visually stunning.  And if you do go, please keep an eye out for this scaly bugger:

And tell him he owes me a snack.

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