Save me! And hover over me with your wings!
I suddenly have no IDEA what is happening in Chicago theatre. Ah well. Let's get back into it. But first- one of them rare touring shows.
Today I finally returned to the Cirque de Soleil, an obsession of my childhood. I saw the first show come to Chicago when I was, what, eight? I laughed so hard my lungs hurt. I stared so hard my eyes started to ache. Yeah, the audience experience can be pretty intense when you're tichy.
And also when you're big. When a big budget touring show comes to Chicago, I tend to shrug and say "It was ok, but there are better deals in town." $20 is my upper limit with ticket prices. But Cirque... look... it's a LOT of show. A whole darn lot of show. And even if you respond badly to its artsy fantasia vibe, it will blow your mind. The Cirque won't take offense! Your mind is all it wants to blow.
The current show has a vague storyline, like all of them do: an old clown imagines his funeral procession: jugglers, acrobats and angels. The premise gives rise to some killer moments- something about an angel watching over a tightrope walker is like a bolt to my heart- but the real emotional punch is always within the acts themselves. Defiance! Achievement! Joy! Gravity is for putzes! Cirque acts often pretend to mess up, in order to pump the drama. I don't find this at all dishonest. These people make the impossible look effortless through years of unstinting effort. If they fall once, on purpose, it's only to let us see the falls upon falls that have gone before. Then they leap up, and do it perfectly- and that is real. Thank the angels above them, just out of reach, urging them higher and higher.