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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cirque du Soleil

Intrust Bank Arena
Wichita, KS
© Lydia Lowe 2013

      I'll have to say that I have never seen a show like this anywhere.  The show is part acrobatics, part circus sideshow, there's acting, storytelling, street performance, dancing, and then there's the feats of derring-do.  I can't really nail down the experience, but trust me, if you miss seeing this world-class show in Wichita, you'll miss a lot.  It is well worth the price of admission. 

     The night that I went there, there was a performer who in the middle of the first half and second half of the show did a bit of an Abbott and Costello shtick with members of the audience.  It was truly hilarious.  And it came at a time during both halves when the story was getting particularly intense and broke up the story line.  It gave the audience time to digest what they'd been seeing and experiencing.  I didn't realize how important his job was until the end.  More on that in a minute.

     The aerial acts, except for one, are all done without any kind of safety equipment and between that and the story line, it's an intense experience.  The final aerial act is a particularly intense thrill ride because even with the safety equipment, if the performer doesn't hit her marks exactly, it could be a disaster.  On the night that I was there the performer hit every mark and really didn't require the safety equipment.  I was glad that she had it, though.

     I had a chance to go backstage before the show and got to see a couple of performers practicing on these red strips of fabric suspended from the ceiling.  They literally started at the floor and "walked" up these pieces of fabric to the ceiling and then practiced their acts from there to the floor.  To see the performer already suspended above the floor and pulled onto center stage was exciting and scary.  The entire act took place in the air using two strips of fabric and absolutely no safety equipment.  It looked completely effortless.  The continuing practice that must have went into just this act alone consisted of hours and hours of work.

     Then there were the jump ropes . . .one performer at a point during the jump rope sequence was doing a double-dutch while he jumped his own rope and two fellas with another jump rope walked through all of this and he jumped it at the same time.  Normal things and objects take on an entirely new meaning at a Cirque show.

     And the Abbott and Costello shtick that broke up the tension during both halves of the show, although he doesn't do anything remotely "special" he serves two important purposes during the show, he breaks the tension so the audience can breathe and he gives the performers a well deserved breather, as well.  He also got the biggest crowd pop at the end of the night.

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