Cirque of Life: Ovo

February 19, 2010 · 3 comments

The stout man wandering the aisles before the show was polite, yet firm. This is, after all, a Canadian production.

“No photos, please!”

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This is why I only have a handful of flash-free surreptitious shots of the entry tent and pre-show staging to share. Anyway, once the 6-foot grasshopper landed at Rick’s elbow and flicked his tongue at us, I was pretty much done with the camera. *

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The story is one of the most straightforward of all the Cirque du Soleil shows I’ve seen: gentlebug loses egg, gentlebug finds ladybug, gentlebug loses ladybug, gentlebug gets both egg and ladybug. However, that may be oversimplifying things a bit.

Think “Crickets and spiders and grubs… oh my!”

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Ovo creates a world where giant preying mantes are shooed into harmless retreat by the heroine, a charming rotund beetle of pendulous presence. Deftly-footed ants toss corn cobs, giant kiwi slices and each other around in a dizzying frenzy. An insectoid Slinky shimmies and flits and thoroughly confounds. I just know there had to be a person in there somewhere, but where? And how many? And… how?

In an increasingly cynical world, there is magic in a Silicon Valley crowd erupting in a genuine, collective “Ooohhh…. ahhhhh….”

The incredible athleticism of the gymnasts had me wondering why Cirque du Soleil has never won a gold at the Summer Olympics.

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One of the shortest but most sweet moments of the entire evening: A slender, floor-to-ceiling shimmer emerges from the floor, and for one miraculous minute, the audience believes it is actually watching a woman wiggle and worm her way from a cocoon, complete with the most exquisite and ephemeral 40-foot long silk wings you’ve never seen.

If only the real struggle into womanhood was that easy. And beautiful. And quick.

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The final scene of the show is, fittingly, the most spectacular. To avoid the need to post a “spoiler alert,” I’ll refrain from any detail, except to say this: If you’ve ever had a grasshopper land in your hair, you already know they can fly.

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This isn’t me.

It’s a little girl I shot when I wasn’t supposed to be taking photos a few years ago. But she pretty much summed up how I felt last night when we walked into Le Grand Chapiteau. If you can’t actually be in the show, at least you can wear the hat and hope that the Russian and French judges cancel each other out, giving Ovo the gold.


* We could have swiped some spectacular images from Cirque’s own website to use here, but that would just be wrong. Plus, we were pretty sure you all would notice. You have noticed that we only ever use original content here, right? Yeah… we knew you had. Just checking.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marilyn February 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Kathy – I completely agree with your assessment & commentary on the show. I LOVED it. And yes, I have had a grasshopper land in my hair.

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