Cirque du Soleil – visited at last
My chance came.
I was offered a complementary ticket to the show and a 20% discount for Rachel. As I only work two or three shifts a week it was easy to fit it in.
Reasoning cynically that they must be having trouble getting the punters in, I expected a meagre scattering of people to attend: only to find a full house. They couldn’t, surely, be giving away that many tickets . . . could they?
But no, this is one very popular show. On my breaks from the kitchen, when I would drag myself away from stuffing my face to walk outside, I could hear the crowds’ reaction to the performances. They were loving it. And so it was now as we watched: clapping, stamping of feet to the rhythms, great up-swellings of cheers and laughter fit to raise the roof (of a tent?).
Though mostly gymnastic in content, the show is awash in brilliant colours, fantastic costumes, and music that is hard to define – modern, rhythmic, somewhere between Moorish and European with an indecipherable French idiom, a mock language, and all belting out in surround-sound at very high volume. I’d never have thought that such good acoustics could be achieved in a tent of all places, but such is the sophistication of sound engineering these days.
These gymnastic performers – such perfect and beautiful physical specimens both male and female, wearing costumes the aerodynamics of which leaves little to the imagination – were abundant food for the eyes. One, a female contortionist, was clothed in a body suit that apart from the delicate vertical blue glitter stripes was intended, I am sure, to give the impression of nudity – down to the dark patch of pubic hair. And I am a very impressionable young man. I also have a rather fertile imagination. I now have to decide which of the (fully clothed or robed) performers she is amongst those who dine in the dining tent adjacent to my dishwashing station. But then, I have only this lasting image of her face smiling out at the crowd, framed by her pelvis, legs and feet while she happily posed on her hands on a small pegged pedestal. Contorted indeed. Having seen more of her than I feel I deserve, can I look her in the eye, I ponder? To be honest, it was difficult to recognise most of them from those I see in the dining tent. So there will still be a bit of mystery for me when I stare at their bizarrely made up faces.
However these stars, these super talents, when off stage and away from their rapturously adoring public; when they shuffle in to the dining tent in their robes and slippers (still in makeup) for a snack or a meal, sometimes appear very ordinary. . . deflated. . . human, like me.
In the big top I was once more reminded and awed – as I tapped my feet, clapped and cheered my way through the show – at the enormity of the logistics in the set up and technical maintenance of the performers and their support equipment. And after all, some of my blood and sweat had gone into the raising of the structure. For all the allure of the glitter and glamour of the show and its performers however, I’m not tempted to run away with circus. The performers undoubtedly do it for the appreciation they get from their audience – their talent is bigger than mine, but so are their egos. And surely, to do anything repeatedly, day after day ends up just being a job. At least I can walk away anytime I want if the work becomes sheer drudgery, or if one of the chefs pisses me off too much.
Good show what old chap.