I want to run away and join the circus…

by Natalie P.

May 13, 2007 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Parenting, Popculture, Social idiocy | 8 Comments

Since I saw my first Cirque du Soleil show under the “Grand Chapiteau” in ’97, I’ve wanted to run away and join the circus. 

The bf calls me a “cirquehead”.  (Kinda like a deadhead, but…)

Tonight we saw the newest Cirque du Soleil show, Kooza, in Montreal.

It was FABULOUS. It was breathtaking. It was dazzling. It was every synonym for “fantastic” that I can think of. It made me want to run away with the circus all over again.

(Ok, so I’m a bit old for the acrobatics. But I could be a clown!  Or a cook… or a costume designer… I’m sure I could find something to do befitting of my talents.  Of course, there are the little issues of a kid in university, a mortgage, and the bf that I’d miss…)

I have a theory: Like your first love, your first “Cirque” is always your favorite. It’s the one that stays in your heart as the most beloved.  For the bf, it’s Corteo, because that was his first.  I still rememer his eyes shining as we went out of the tent for intermission. (I’ve never seen him so animated outside of the bedroom).   Mine was Quidam, under the Grand Chapiteau in Toronto. It was magical. I clapped so hard my hands hurt and I had tears in my eyes. I’d never seen any live show that was so wonderfully performed and so breathtaking. And the music! Hauntingly beautiful. 

Since then I have seen the travelling shows Allegria, Saltimbanco, Varikai, Dralion, Corteo, Delerium, (and now Kooza), and the permanent shows in Vegas, Zumanity, Love, Mystere, “O” and KÀ!  I have a section of hallway dedicated to Cirque with mounted posters, masks and memorabilia – including a limited edition “Varekai” poster that you can no longer get. 

In fact I’m such a Cirquehead that, last year I dragged the bf to “CirqueCon” in Vegas and got treated to fantastic “behind the scenes” tours and show specials as well as lots of cool swag.  Though it was organized by fans, and not an official “Cirque du Soleil” function, the Cirque Company treated us wonderfully. I was thoroughly impressed with the organization and how much time and attention they gave us. The bf came along to keep me company. Not really grudgingly, but joking about how I was going to hang out with a bunch of circus geeks for 4 days. He had a fantastic time too and loved it as much as I did. I honestly can’t say enough about how wonderful the Cirque du Soleil company was during those four days – we saw a  KÀ rehearsal and had a Q&A session with the production manager and cast members, a Mystere rehersal, a Q&A session with two actors and the show manager for Zumanity, and had pictures taken with casts of Mystere and “O”.  The “con” culminated with a wonderful reception at the Cirque du Soleil headquarters in Vegas and a silent auction for donated one-of-a-kind Cirque memorobila and original art with the proceeds going to their programs for youth at risk.

So when I heard Cirque du Soleil had a new show opening in Montreal (their home city), I bought tickets before the show even had a name.

For Cirque, I try to treat myself to “Tapis Rouge” whenever possible – best seats in the house and special treatment before the show and during intermission with wonderful appetizers, champagne, a private tent area, etc.  It’s the ONLY way to fly.  ( I hear they are going to be migrating it to “corporate” only, so you may not be able to get Tapis Rouge in future. *Sniff!*)

I deliberately did not read anything about Kooza before going. I wanted to be surprized. 

Kooza was sensational

I cannot recommend it highly enough. When it comes to your town, or anywhere near your town, SEE IT.  Join “cirque club” so you can get advance notice of Cirque in a city near you and the chance to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public. They sell out fast.  Oh, and there is really not a bad seat in the house in the Grand Chapiteau. (Note: the best seats are actually not the closest to the stage.  If you are willing to pay full price, try to be at least 4 rows back, starting at row D. If you are going to Delirium – (another show I highly recommend, but it’s not like the tent shows), DON’T get floor seats. Sit in the stands up the sides of the stadium – the viewing is MUCH better).

But back to “Kooza”…

Kooza harkens back to the Cirque roots – with the most daring and incredible acrobatics. (The costumes and makeup are stunning too.) The music is always live, and the staging and lighting was marvelously perfect for the show.  All the Cirque shows have acrobatics to some extent or another. All of them have acts that have the audience amazed and enthralled, but this show even topped Quidam for having performances that took my breath away. Every single acrobatic act was brilliant.  And only one act had someone “wired” for safety, which made the feats that much more awe-inspiring.  The double high-wire act – with one acrobat LEAPING over another on the highest wire –  was not netted or wired.  He fell on his first attempt and caught the wire with his hands…. Then he pulled himself back up, started over, and did the trick again, this time landing on his feet on the wire.  I don’t think I breathed the whole time he was preparing for the 2nd attempt.  I won’t give away the rest of the act, (which was even more impressive) – you simply MUST see it to believe it.

Every single act had me cheering and clapping. Every single one was dazzlingly exceptional.  Once again my hands hurt I clapped so hard.  Of the travelling shows, I think, after my first love, this has to be my favorite. (Of the Vegas shows, is my stand-out favorite, though “O” and Mystere are truly first-class as well)

The only detracting factor in the entire show had nothing to do with the Cirque itself. It was the MORON of a mother, in the first row, who brought her toddler.  Yes. A fucking toddler. To a live theatrical performance. 

And here is where I go on a tirade.

I am SICK AND TIRED of self-absorbed, fucking IDIOT parents with an epic sense of entitlement, who think they can drag their kids to every fucking thing they go to, with no regard for anyone else (including the child).  There is just NO excuse.  You DON’T take a baby to a movie or a symphony or a live theatre play. I don’t give a damn if you can’t afford a babysitter. Suck it up and RENT A FUCKING DVD.  You do not have the right to spoil everyone else’s enjoyment because you can’t afford or find someone to mind your kid.  By the same token, when you can afford $220 for tickets to Cirque, you clearly have a clue what kind of show it is and you can afford a goddamned babysitter. An infant is NOT going to get anything out of the show anyway.  In fact, as far as I am concerned, most children under the age of 10 will not fully appreciate it so don’t waste the money.

I firmly believe that Cirque should enforce a strict “no children under 3” policy at these shows. Period.  Honestly, the rest of us paid a serious amount of  money (the cheapest tickets are still $60), and her fucking rugrat was SCREAMING, crying and had to be removed SEVERAL TIMES.  The ushers spoke to her twice, and still her son kept bringing the kid back into the show.  And it’s not like she was at the back where she could easily step outside.  Let’s put the actual enjoyment and effect on the surrounding patrons aside.  While her kid was evacuating all the air from her lungs at a zillion decibels, the rest of the audience was holding their collective breaths as a very talented and dedicated acrobat was trying to precariously balance on one hand on the top of 10 chairs stacked one on top of the other.

For the love of god and the sake of the perfomers, DO NOT BRING YOUR INFANTS OR TODDLERS TO A CIRQUE DU SOLEIL SHOW (or ANY live performance for that matter)! 

That mother’s behavior was unconscionable.  It was rude and it was unfair to everyone else. Even worse,  she delegated most of the responsibility for the little one to her teenage son. I felt sorry for both kids and dearly hope that someone gives that stupid woman a karmic kick in the butt for being such a flaming asshole.

And while I am on my tirade about flaming assholes… If you show up LATE to a show like this, thank your lucky stars they let you get seated at all. (At most live theatres, latecomers cannot be seated until the intermission, if at all). So while you are waiting for the usher to negotiate the people watching the show to get up so you can get to your seat, CROUCH DOWN for fucks sake. Don’t stand there, blocking everyone’s view of the stage.  Show some decency and humility for the fact that you are disturbing other people by getting your sorry ass there late.  (And don’t write to me with excuses about why people arrive late. I don’t want to fucking hear it.  If you get there late, then you deal with the consequences and you show some respect for the people who managed to get their asses there on time for the show.)

Cirque du Soleil puts on some of the most magnificent and amazing live performances you will ever see. I can’t recommend them highly enough. So if you have a chance to see one under the Grand Chapiteau, don’t be a dickwad and spoil the event for others. Get there on time and leave your kids at home with a sitter.

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8 comments so far
  1. Jenny May 13, 2007 4:11 pm

    I’m not a Cirque fan, but I can completely relate to the complaint about kids at the theatre.

    During a performance of Tosca, about two years back, some genius sitting behind me had decided to bring her kids and they talked through the ENTIRE show.

    “What’s she saying, I can’t understand?”
    “You have to look up there and read, then look back down.”
    “Then I’ll miss the show.”
    “No, it takes longer to say things in that other language than it does in English.”

    Now I can forgive the kids, they were clearly just bored and confused (as I would’ve been at that age). The mom, on the other hand, should’ve known better.

  2. Kimberly May 14, 2007 9:15 am

    Oh I DEFINITELY feel you on this one! Parents who refuse to allow their children to “slow them down” are the BAIN OF MY EXISTENCE! I have had this experience at the movies on a few occasions and ANNOYING! Being a parent, I did not even entertain the idea of taking my son to a theatrical performance, the movies or a restaurant (unless it was equipped with kiddie play area) until he was able to control his bladder and reached the maturity to display considerate and socially acceptable behavior. Why can’t these “entitlement riddled” parents take these screaming toddlers to see The Wiggles and/or other shows that target young children and promote/allow their age-appropriate behavior?

    I took my son to see The Wiggles just before he turned five (5) so I do speak from experience. The minor league baseball team in my area provides a kiddie area at their ballpark for little ones should they get bored/ansy during the ballgame. There ARE OPTIONS out there for parents with small children who INSIST on taking them to live performances. Otherwise, SUCK IT UP AND STAY HOME!

    Awesome and MUCH NEEDED rant here. KUDOS!!

  3. Momo May 14, 2007 11:01 pm

    Viva la Cirque! I fell in love when I saw the Dralion. I’m a poor student, so the rest of my Cirque experiences have been limited to recordings off the Bravo channel. Sigh. Ah well, at least the recorded ones guarantee a seat not obstructed by posts.

    I have a hilarious memory of the Dralion. My uncle had brought binoculars, and he and my boyfriend kept fighting over them because of the women in spandex. They tossed the binoculars to me when the juggler in the red bodysuit came on.

  4. pcw May 25, 2007 12:56 pm

    I’m a huge Cirque fan and did see Kooza a month ago, but I did feel a little manipulated when I read about your description about when the guy “falls” on the highwire act when leapfrogging the other acrobat. This was exactly the same thing that happened when I saw the show a month before you and exactly how it happened last night when another friend saw the show.

  5. Marlene May 25, 2007 8:08 pm

    i agree about the idiotic parents, but let’s face it, its the cirque de soleil, not the Grand Ballets canadiens…mind you it’s probably too long for a really young kid.

  6. Webster May 28, 2007 12:11 pm

    I finally met another “Cirquehead” … I love the label ! I’ve seen some of the Cirques 3-5 times over (O, Alegria & Msytere, my favourites). I could go on and on, but I just want to recommend that you see Le Reve at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, comparable to O ! (also directed by Franco Dragone, ex-Cirque director). Looking forward to seeing Kooza shortly.

  7. Natalie P. May 29, 2007 10:20 pm

    The last time we were in Las Vegas for CirqueCon, we took in La Reve instead of KÀ, (given that we had already seen KÀ). It was highly enjoyable, but I still think “O” topped it. Next stop in Vegas: Penn and Teller.

    -Natalie

  8. laura July 16, 2008 1:04 pm

    You know, it’s not the ballet. It’s a circus. Kids do get a lot out of it. It’s not taking toddlers to events such as this that’s moronic, it’s refusing to bail if they do misbehave. There is a wide range as far as toddler behavior, both from child to child and within the individual child. Tje mother was moronic and rude for not leaving as soon as her toddler stated making noise, not for bringing him to begin with. For the record, Cirque du Solail specifically says on their site that their child pricing is from 2-12 years old (about 2/3 of a regular ticket), and under 2 are free. They do not discourage kids attending. The circus is perfect for children, especially since there are no words or complicated plot to understand. Parents need to knwo their own child’s limitations, and need to always be prepared to forfeit the money they’ve spent if the child acts up, and leave immediately.


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