Let’s Chat: Cirque du Soleil ‘Kurios’

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Roy: So, we saw a lot of ass Thursday night.

Megan: Not just any ass – circus ass so exquisitely talented, it was ass-tounding. I don’t know what I expected going into it, but Cirque du Soleil changed me as a person.

R: I know what you mean; something about watching gymnasts twirl their bodies in ways I didn’t even know were physically possible  has changed my perception of reality. Like, we saw someone contort their body around a floating bicycle. A mime put tiny shoes on his fingers and pretended his hand was a break-dancer.

M: The theme of the circus was “Kurios,” and it was basically about a 20th century scientist who builds a portal to this world where everyone is sickeningly flexible and acrobatically talented and have leotards permanently glued to their bodies. But even knowing the storyline, I was so confused the whole time — “Why are seventeen grown men stacked on top of one another? Did gravity just break?” But also so entertained — “That’s the greatest man stack I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how they’re doing a cartwheel right now, but I like it.”

R: I really liked the guy that sat next to us. He was French-Canadian and apparently he used to be a technician for the show, so he knew all the performers.  He would lean over to me every so often and talk about them. He’d mumble under his breath before each big trick like, “Come on Diego” and then when they landed he’d go “AAAAHHH” and take a sip of wine.

M: He said he’s followed Cirque du Soleil from city to city — this is the third time he’s seen “Kurios” alone. I guess the circus is addictive, like Disneyland, or Lay’s Potato Chips, or prison drugs; you can’t just hit it and quit it.

R: I know whoever designed the show was hittin’ something pretty hard.

M: True — walking into the Big Top was like walking into someone’s steampunk acid trip. Everything was draped in lights and smoke, and the stage was crowded with all kinds of mechanical props — 20-foot-tall spindly robotic hands, mimes in metal skirts, bronze gramophones blasting some neo-French jazz-folk industrial pseudo-pop…something. Young people music.

R: It was all spectacularly fun though. Honestly, it was probably one of the funnest live shows I’ve ever been to. People crack jokes about mimes, but that shit is funny. And there’s also something inspirational in seeing human Adonises twirl around on ropes from up in the air. I know I said I wanted to be a journalist, but right now I feel like eating a salad and doing enough gymnastics to make me look like a Greek god.

M: I felt like a giddy seven-year-old the whole time, which was great for blending in with the rest of the audience, comprised of seven-year-olds and wine-drunk OC moms. I was so in my element.

R: The funniest thing about wine-drunk OC moms is that they basically got dressed up to the nines just to take their kids to the circus. That entire sentence just sounds like an SNL sketch.

M: It was a classy event, Roy. These performers have come from dozens of countries and trained for most of their lives to make it into this elite circus. And it’s not only the performers. Think of the production team — choreographing, training, orchestrating, designing a breathtaking mechanical set, piecing a thousand intricate props into a two-hour-long exhibition of the unbelievable — something so artful, so awe-inspiring, so gorgeous and inexplicable that I’m incapable of doing anything but cracking jokes about how tight the performers’ leotards were.

R: Because on paper, it all sounds ridiculous. After having watched it, I know that it’s all ridiculous, but it is so much more than that. I mean, the show is really captivating. It gives you a whole range of feelings. One moment you’ll be cracking up, the next moment you’re clapping wildly and after that you’re on the edge of your seat hoping the acrobat jumping off a stack of people doesn’t die.

M: There’s a reason why “going to the circus” is such a cultural experience — it’s not quite like anything else I’ve ever seen, because no other form of entertainment is the product of so much labor and talent at once.

R: And so many leotards.

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