Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cirque Du Soleil's Quidam Is Here

The story line goes like this: Young Zoé is bored; her parents, distant and apathetic, ignore her. Her life has lost all meaning. Seeking to fill the void of her existence, she slides into an imaginary world where she meets characters who encourage her to free her soul.

It hardly sounds like a circus. At least not the circus I went to as a boy with trapeze artists, high wire acts, men shot out of cannons, clowns and dancing bears. Cirque Du Soleil is not your ordinary circus. It’s a re-configured phenomenon for the 21st century where music, choreography and story weaves a mesmerizing spell.

Circuses in America have a long history that goes all the way back to shortly after the Revolution, offering the masses a source of diversion and entertainment unlike anything else. In the days before radio and television there were as many as a hundred circuses weaving their way about the land. But circus was not just about spectacular entertainment. At the heart of the circus was an innovative showmanship and entrepreneurism.

In their day the Ringling Brothers weren’t far off the mark when they called their travelling road show The Greatest Show On Earth. They not only had masterful entertainment, but they also had become skilled in managing the enormous entourage of people and animals. At its height the circus took up 14 acres when they came to town. The railroad train itself was a mile long.

The Great Depression and bad investments killed the Ringling Bros. Circus but it did not kill the love for sensational diversions.

Clowns have always played an important role at circuses, diverting attention from the practical setups and tear-downs that occur in plain view, and the best have truly made names for themselves. When I went to the Grotto Circus I had a chance to see the famous Emmett Kelly with his "sad clown" look. I didn't know him from any other but my mom seemed to gush over the fact that we were going to see him, so every time he was out there in the arena all eyes were on him, including mine. 

The promotional literature for this week’s story explains the meaning of its title this way… “Quidam means a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past and swallowed by the crowd. It could be anyone, anybody. Someone coming or going at the heart of our anonymous society. A member of the crowd, one of the silent majority. The one who cries out, sings and dreams within us all. This is the quidam whom this show allows to speak. This is the place that beckons - a place for dreaming and genuine relations where all quidams, by proclaiming their individuality, can finally emerge from anonymity.

Art, entertainment, story, sensational skill, abandonment to imagination and awe... it's a modern spectacle with modern sensibilities designed to produce an unforgettable experience. There will be shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend at the AMSOIL Arena. I'll be there. How abut you? 

* * *
In other action, there are several Homegrown Art Openings this week. (It's Homegrown Music Fest here in Duluth/Superior.)
Tonight: Red Mug Coffee House in Superior, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 or so.
Tomorrow, May 4: Ochre Ghost is hosting an opening for the Abstract shows opening at Ochre Ghost and Beaners tomorrow. (I have two pieces at Ochre Ghost and will be there at 6 o'clock before rushing off to the circus.)
Saturday, May 5: "Saturday Morning Cartoons" will be having its opening at the PROVE Gallery from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

It's all free. Get out and take it in.

"Meantime, life goes on all around you."

3 comments:

My Inner Chick said...

--I'm going tomorrow night.
Looking forward to it!

Great write up <3

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nice written

ENNYMAN said...

Thank you.