We sit in the dark, watching the stage. A couple are sitting on an acrobat’s swing 20 feet off the ground. She stands up, he repositions. And then she jumps off. She falls for a split second, caught by her partner who has saved her in the instant before she is out of reach. And then, instead of pulling her back up onto the swing, he lowers himself down, hanging off the swing by only his toes, letting his partner dangle beneath him. This is Cirque du Soleil.
Cirque du Soleil, the acrobatic spectacular series of shows, has always pushed the boundaries of live theatre with amazing acts of skill and strength. With themes ranging from animals to sexuality to The Beatles to the world of film, just to name a few, this is not something where, “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.”
One of their more recent offerings, Totem, examines the evolution of man, from our amphibious origins to modern day into the future as we reach out to the stars.
The show was spectacular. Though there were nice little nods in costume and set pieces to our heritage as a species, the real attraction, as always, were the performers. Acrobatics, juggling like you’ve never seen before, Russian bar jumps, rings on automated lift lines, trampoline stunts, and a quintet of unicycling women tossing bowls with their feet and catching them with their heads, among many other displays, make this show spectacular and awe-inspiring.
One word of warning: Though there are cake pops and sodas and ice cream and popcorn available as refreshments in the lobby, you may not want to partake. The feeling of watching these super muscular men and women perform these incredible feats of strength and skill may be daunting enough without the sensation of cramming handfuls of buttery, salted popcorn into your mouth as you watch. The feeling of inadequacy just from being in the same room as these gods among men is enough to encourage anyone to go back to the gym.
The show is incredible. It was a bit of a drive because the show is currently playing at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. It runs there through the end of December and in the new year will move to the Santa Monica Pier, opening Jan. 17 and running to Feb. 9.
For fans of Cirque du Soleil, this is one not to miss. For more information, visit cirquedusoleil.com and click on Totem.