By Mike Keenan
I’m excited. I’m going to see Cirque du Soleil at the Meridian Centre. This production, Corteo, visits St. Catharines from July 11 to 15 following their first appearance here last year, which was well-received by local patrons.
Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, this unique show premiered in Montréal April 2005 and has visited 64 cities in 19 countries playing to more than eight million people worldwide.
Corteo means cortege in Italian, a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. What I like about Cirque is the amazing combination of music, exotic staging and athletic performance along with clever costumes that makes Cirque a pleasure for all ages.
A clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music, by turns lyrical and playful, carries Corteo through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality.
This show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.
The cast includes 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors from all around the world representing more than 15 nationalities. Performers are from Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, united Kingdom, Ukraine, United States, Uzbekistan and more. Accordingly, although you will generally hear French and English spoken on-site, many other languages are spoken: Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and more.
Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux has created over 260 costumes for the cast to accentuate the natural beauty of the artists. She used more than a hundred different fabrics and trims, concentrating on a subtle color palette that includes blues, pinks, fuchsia and gold with appliquéd spangles and jewels. Most fabrics were dyed, sublimated and silk screen printed to give them a patina of age while retaining the attributes necessary for high-performance acrobatics.
There are numerous angels depicted in Corteo such as the little angel, the archangels and the grand angels. On average, each angel’s dress requires 25 meters of fabric which translates to over 500 meters of material (or the approximate length of five football fields) appearing on stage each night.
For a single year of operation, performers require over 200 bottles of liquid foundation, hundreds of eye shadows, blushes, pencils and lipsticks as well as more than 50 liters of make-up remover. The smallest shoe size in the show is a children’s size three and the largest is an 18 EEE.
A completely new stage and acrobatic structure have been fabricated for the arena tour. Set Designer Jean Rabasse has divided the rotating stage in two, with each half of the audience facing the other half, so they see not only the performance, but also have a performer’s eye view of the audience. This is a first for Cirque du Soleil.
More information regarding tickets and show times are available at http://www.meridiancentre.com/ I will follow this blog with another after the show.
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