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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Theater: Cirque du Soleil - Ovo 
13th-Sep-2010 11:04 am
Summer
On Sunday, I went with gsh to see Cirque du Soleil's show "Ovo." I've never seen Cirque before, never read the reviews of this show, and tried hard to go in waiting to be thrilled. In specific, the show did not disappoint. There were particular parts to it that were incredible, breathtaking, beautiful, and glorious. The dragonfly gymnast at the beginning, the male/female butterfly ropework team, and the crowd of crickets using trampolines to play on a climbing wall while a red spider woman climbed headfirst down the wall were all impressive and noteworthy in separate ways.

The good:

We had great seats, three rows off from the stage. I wouldn't have wanted to be any lower, because we were just above eye-level with the stage floor. We were close enough to see the performers roll their eyes, and could see their lips moving when they were counting off to each other.

The performance was varied, with everything from contortionists to aerialists. There were tumbling routines, "juggling" routines (for some definition of the word), and plenty of moves that required amazing strength as well as smooth balance. Some of the people were graceful and powerful, some were cute, and some were simply beautiful. As I sit here and think about it again, I really think the couple that did the rope work (as white butterflies) was my favorite act for beauty, grace, and glory. A close runner up would be the gymnast dragonfly and his balancing-block work on top of the spiral pole.

The bad:

The piped-in music (and even when there was live singing) was ear-shattering and head-pounding. Sometime during the second set, my brain finally gave up parsing it as "music," declared it "airplane engine" noise, and I almost fell asleep during the loose-wire act. I think that overwhelming sensory shutdown really dragged down my enjoyment of the show, as I ended up staggering out thinking less about the show and more about how nice it would be to go lie down somewhere absolutely silent for a few days.

The ugly:

I was expecting art, grace, power, and amazing feats of strength and acrobatics. Unfortunately, someone thought it would be a good idea to include a section with audience participation humiliation. Two women and a man were pulled out of the audience to blow kisses at one of the characters, who proceeded to play the blushing flirt... then reject them. While I understand it was written into the "plot" as it were, I was not thrilled at all.

The summary:

I'm glad I went. I saw things I've never seen before, and can now understand why some people talk about Cirque performances with stars in their eyes and wonder in their voices. Those people are athletes and artists, and deserve the ticket prices we paid. Wow and wow.

If I were to go again, I would want seats a bit further away from the stage and definitely in the center (so I can see the trapeze act better), and I would eat painkillers and take ear plugs to inoculate myself against the noise.
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