josh hadley | the shadows of pop culture | sept. 2018
What image does Cirque du Soleil conjure up when you hear it? Does it conjure up images of acrobats dancing with colorful costumes in a slightly French Canadian style? Well it should and it's coming to Green Bay next month.
Cirque du Soleil is a French Canadian acrobatic and performance troupe founded in 1984 which quickly made a name for itself in the arenas of live spectacle and high-end theater through sheer force of will.
From its humble beginnings, Cirque du Soleil quickly grew in the 1990s for staging performances on every continent with the exception of Antarctica and being a huge audience draw every time.
Seen by many as an extravagant show that does not disappoint, the troupe is never satisfied to put out the same old product night after night. Julie Desmarais of Cirque du Soleil is very happy that the show keeps evolving and for those who may have never been to a Cirque du Soleil event, she knows you will not be disappointed.
"Cirque du Soleil is creating a whole experience," says Desmarais. “The cinematography, the music, the lighting, the incredible acrobatics. It's a combination of various forms of art."
The show itself changes every tour with a new story, new visuals, new costumes and new dazzling stunts and a completely new feel. This tour, which Green Bay will get to experience at the Resch Center Oct 11 through 14, adds a novel element as this Cirque du Soleil story is set on the ice. Ice-skating and the ice theme compliment the acrobatics and all around immersive atmosphere in this first-of-its-kind spectacle.
The newest incarnation is titled “Crystal," which is also the name of the show's central figure.
“In 'Crystal' we tell a story of emotion which travels with and connects with the audience," says Desmarais. “We follow this unique character named Crystal — she's weird. She seeks out where she should be in life and she dives into a world she creates of her own. Crystal meets characters that guide her in this journey and she encounters her own dark side as well. She finishes her journey realizing she is what she wants to be: a confident and empowered woman."
“Crystal" is a story told through acrobatics and theatrics alongside music, lighting and acting which become a single entity. The result is a full experience for the audience that one is not soon to forget.
"Adding the element of skating is an element of curiosity and audiences tend to connect with the character and the storyline," says Desmarais.
Such connections cannot be understated.
Local resident Sue Hein caught Cirque du Soleil's "Beatles Love" in Vegas in 2016 and it overwhelmed her.
"Brought me to tears," recalls Hein. “Brought me back to when the Beatles first performed … the acrobatics, the music, everything. It was a sense of nostalgia, along with the costuming, the lighting and even the interpretation of the songs was so spot on it captured what the Beatles represented."
“Crystal" will be the 42nd incarnation of Cirque du Soleil and at the time of this writing, this incarnation had been performed at 268 shows around the world with no signs of slowing down.
What might peak the curiosity of an audience who has never been to a Cirque du Soleil show before? According to Desmarais this show “appeals to all people and even has hockey references in it."
Green Bay may be a football town but at least they are trying.
I was interested in how long something this elaborate takes to produce as this cannot be an easy setup.
Many years of training are required to even get in the door... "These are dedicated people. Once a concept (usually a year in advance) is settled on it takes months upon months of dedicated training before anything is allowed to be seen by an audience."
Skating is new to Cirque du Soleil and they have often pushed the boundaries of what they can incorporate into the pantheon of these live event shows.
"Adding the skating has required the performers to learn new skills as acrobats are not usually trained skaters and vice versa, so 'Crystal' is an idiosyncratic show."
If “Crystal" works with audiences who knows what they may add on the next tour.
“Crystal" runs at the Resch Center Oct. 11 through the 14. For more information visit ReschCenter.com.
A fiercely confrontational and arrogant critic whose stubborn nature makes him immanently readable and equally angering, Josh Hadley is a writer for magazines such as Hustler, Fangoria, Paracinema, Shadowland, Grindhouse Purgatory and Cashers du Cinemart, as well as a radio host on Jackalope Radio. Find more from him at 1201beyond.com, a website that only the most anti-social personalities would engage.