Monday, November 8, 2010

Quidam - Cirque du Soleil

Quidam - Cirque du Soleil
Bogotá, 7 November 2010

The narrative is not especially compelling, but then it is just the pretext for the spectacle. “Quidam: a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past. It could be anyone, anybody. Someone coming, going, living in our anonymous society.” He drops his hat, which is picked up by a girl who puts it on and is transported to a magical world were she observes all sorts of strange and impressive performances. Underlying the theme of the anonymity of society, this parallel world is populated with people in white the “hazmat” suits. I can see the symbolic loss of identity, but this costuming choice detracts from the richness that characterizes Cirque's productions. There are other characters in this world too, but they are incidental, straying on stage more than appearing. The narrative that is supposed to hold the production together is a bit anticlimactic.

What the Cirque du Soleil does best is capitalize on human talent, and Quidam is no exception, in that it has some tremendous performances. Best acts: The opening act of the German wheel. It is extraordinary how the performer moves in, through, over, and around the hoop. Statue-La Vision: two performers display incredible strength and flexibility to hold poses that defy gravity and belief. The most fun: The Skipping Ropes. This is a brilliant, fast paced and intricate choreography; no one missed a beat or a step. Just beautiful. The Banquine acrobats/tumblers. The skills, timing, and technique had the audience gasping in amazement.

Cirque takes the technique and the athleticism of gymnastics and transforms these into choreography. It shifts the scale, from that of the individual performer to create an ensemble that is visually richer and technically much more complex than the sum of its parts. In the best scenes, the individual is almost lost and the choreography takes on a life of its own, in which each person is a part of the synchronization and coordination to form a single organic whole, displaying technical proficiency that transcends mere mortal capability. That is Cirque's magic. To take what is mortal and make it superhuman.

This was the first time I had seen the Cirque du Soleil live. Comparing Quidam to footage of some of their other performances, I would have to say that this is one of their lesser shows. Would I go see the Cirque du Soleil again? Yes. Would I go see this show again? No.

No comments: