Monday, February 27, 2006

purdy with a capital "P"

Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo" is staggeringly beautiful. I can't possibly recommend it enough. If you've never been to a Cirque show, it's typically a circus show centered around three main tenets: Amazing Acrobatics dressed in an Imaginative Presentation and set to Live Music. Typically, they tend to rank in importance in that order as well.

However, Corteo was breath-taking. With Corteo, the Imaginative Presentation jumped way into the lead among the three priorities and it left Amanda and I astounded. As a concept, the entire show is done as though you're watching an old Italian clown dream about his own death and how all of his circus friends would celebrate his life. It's a good concept to start with, but the execution couldn't have been better.

What truly amazed me about the experience is just how much the entire experience really does feel like a dream. At times everything makes sense - the Clown dreams of his friends holding a parade in his honor that gets out of control and becomes far too happy for a funeral procession, Angels cart him into the sky and fit him with wings, snippets of memories literally drift in and out of the audiences field of vision. But, at other times, nothing makes sense and the entire three-dimensional canvas of the stage resembles a surrealist painting more than any kind of circus I've ever seen. It was this frequent use of unrelated, almost non sequitur-esque dream imagery that left me feeling so ... childlike.

Bizarre imagery is everywhere. Angels drift through the air constantly - observing, caring for people, taking part peripherally in the events, the head of a horse costume running around onstage without the body, trails of shoes that run across the stage without anyone wearing them as they're protected from nothing by a man carrying an umbrella. At one point during one of the acrobatic routines, I realized that there was a clown walking upside down along the length of a tightrope with a flaming candelabra in his hand.

It was like watching Jim Henson or Stephen Spielberg at their best. I absolutely adore any piece of art that can make me feel completely astounded by the power of Human Imagination and its ability to make dreams reality through technology and talent. It was incredibly inspiring. Watching a 2-hour testament to the beauty of human creativity is the closest I get to having a religious experience.

So, anyway, the moral of this long-winded ramble is "Go see 'Corteo.'" You won't be disappointed.

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