margin-top: 28px; The Unlikely Times: Totem

Saturday, May 12, 2012


We went out to see Cirque du Soleil show "Totem" today.  A spectacular bit of fun, very colorful, one amazing acrobatics act after another.  For each prop or apparatus, they start simple and get more and more daring, until the acts of dexterity reach levels that don't even seem humanly possible.  Some fine misdirection, some great visual gags.  Amusing (and non-scary) clown bits in between.  The trapeze act was breathtaking: like the rest, you think you've seen some playful trapeze work before but no, this goes over the top; risky, wild and playful.  They could take hula hoops or glowing balls or a couple of sticks and make an act you can't believe you're seeing.  Wonderful costumes and makeup.  The stage itself was like a character, with an endless stream of images beamed down onto it, sometimes perfectly in sync with the motions of the people on it, plus movable parts and all kinds of trapdoors and openings. 

There was a live band performing the music -- at least at the end of the show (I didn't see them in the first act, maybe they lowered the reed barrier for act two?).  I admire the simplicity of just paying to get a top-notch performance, as opposed to something like the olympics where some of the same skills require millions of $$ in endorsements, product placement, and other baloney, just to be nitpicked and eliminated in the end.  There were no losers here, just performance, and that overall sense of circus wonder and thrills that reminded me of being a kid.  No real story, just lots of cross-cultural, multilingual and culturally abstract color and life.

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