Thursday, August 30, 2007

Under the Big Top

Last night we went to see the new Cirque du Soleil show Corteo, which is a touring show that is currently in L.A. It's in the parking lot at the Forum, which is either a new location for Cirque, or one they haven't been to in a long time. I know they have previously set up in Long Beach or Santa Monica with much success, so I'm not sure why the change in location. The Forum is underneath the flight path to LAX, so planes roar overhead every few minutes. Luckily, you can't even hear the planes while the show is on stage. So, I guess it's not a bad location.

When we got to the show, we pulled into the Forum parking lot where the sign said it was $22 to park for Corteo. Mike was ready to pay it, but I was horrified. He was driving, and I asked him to ask the parking lot attendant if she was kidding or if we were accidentally in VIP parking or something. I was holding our Corteo tickets on my lap. Mike asked the girl if we really had to pay $22, and she saw the tickets on my lap, and she pointed to them and said "no, go ahead" and waved us on. So, somehow our tickets got us free parking, though I'm not sure how because they were just regular tickets like everyone else had. Still, I had just been telling Mike about how nice all the Cirque staff is, and this was further evidence.

The show, of course, was magnificent. Unlike the permanent shows set up in theaters in Vegas and Florida, the touring tent shows are very small and intimate. The show is in the round, and the circular stage rotates, but most of the acts are confined to a narrow strip in the center of the stage or in the air above. The concept of Corteo is that a man has died and witnesses his own funeral and then various flashbacks in his life as well as scenes with heavenly angels. There are lots of angels, suspended in the air, in fact this show had the most aerial effects I think I have seen. It is also the first Cirque show I have seen (and I've seen a lot) that was mostly in English. Most of the acrobats did more than one act, which I also thought was unusual, but made for a more intimate performance as you got to know the performers, who included Olympic medalists, 2 midgets, and a giant. The midgets were present in several acts and did some hilarious stunts you would have to see to believe.

The montage on the official Corteo website does not do justice to the show. YouTube is a little better...check out the postings by chicabuena...but best to just go see it in person. One tip I can give you is that the tent is so small that you can buy the cheaper seats in the back and still have excellent viewing.

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