Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cirque Alegria

Last night, the boys, Warren, and I went to the DeSoto Civic Center to see Cirque du Soleil's Alegria. We've seen a couple of faux Cirque productions at the Orpheum, so we were all really excited to see the real deal.

At dinner, Warren scrolled through some YouTube videos to get the kids excited about the show. That's when he realized that Alegria is the same Cirque show he saw in California prior to joining the Peace Corps in 1994! That's the year it came out, and from what I gathered from my questioning, despite being jobless at the time he was apparently charming enough to have a woman buy him a ticket and take him to the show on a date!

Here's the official description:
Alegría is a mood, a state of mind. The themes of the show, whose name means "jubilation" in Spanish, are many. Power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age, youth—it is against this backdrop that the characters of Alegría play out their lives. Kings' fools, minstrels, beggars, old aristocrats and children make up its universe, along with the clowns, who alone are able to resist the passing of time and the social transformations that accompany it.

We arrived at the arena just as the show was starting and settled into our seats after promising the monkeys that they could have a snack at intermission. The show opens with some pretty fancy costumes and singing.

Jiro's first comment was, "This isn't a circus, this is a play." Satchel commented that it was "freaky." Neither of these comments was necessarily a complaint. The singing continued, but more as background, and the "freaky" characters also soon took the background to the performers. First up was a couple who amazed us with mid-air acrobatics while on swings suspended from the ceiling. I could see their safety harnesses, but it didn't stop me from exclaiming over and over. We were impressed.

To give the audience a chance to recover, a couple of clowns came out and had a hilarious paper airplane war. The self-made sound effects and props were in stark contrast to the highly decorated acrobats. As the night wore on, the clowns provided comic relief between the death defying stunts. They even made fart jokes. We loved them.

By the way, I should mention that there is absolutely no photography during the show. These pictures are courtesy of Sophorn, who was given a special press pass. Thank you, Sophorn for sharing!

After the clowns, there was a young hottie who came out half-dressed and showed off his muscles as he suspended himself on some delicate pegs in the ground. It was like watching the olympics, but in a nightclub setting. Brown chicken, brown cow.

Then it just got better. The next act, I referred to as the Fire Indians in my mind.

They were very exciting, and it was just amazing. Each act just got more and more extreme and awesome. I have a challenge for the Memphis-based Hooper Troopers-contortionist hula hooping! Seriously, there's no way a picture could capture the craziness going on with this woman. At one point she had six hoops all going in different directions.

Sophorn wasn't allowed to take pictures after intermission, and by then my jaw was totally dropped and I lost the ability to take notes. Besides, Jiro was all snuggled up in my lap, which I preferred to my note pad. I will say that the second act included snow, audience participation, giant paper airplanes, awesome bouncy boards, spider women, and skybox bandits!

The tickets are a major splurge, but the show really is spectacular. If you are looking to evade the Memphis in May madness this weekend, this could be just the thing for you and the family. Alegria is playing tonight, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Ticket info here.

See all of Sophorn's pictures here.

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