The Circus comes to town

Cirque du Soleil dreams big with Corteo 

Cirque du Soleil performed at the Leon’s Centre July 4 to 8, 2018.

Hanging from chandeliers and jumping on the bed are usually frowned upon—but Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo made an exception on July 4.

Corteo, performed at the Leon's Centre, tells the story of a clown named Mauro who is reliving his entire life while awaiting his own funeral. As he grapples with the realities of his death,  characters from his life appear to him as former lovers, old friends and colleagues join him on stage. 

While the show focuses on the death of the main character, the show is a celebration of life. 

Using soft colours and extravagant and luxurious furniture, the show at no point feels mournful or morose. Rather, it feels like the daydreams of a creative child. 

The soft fabrics of the costumes, the use of furniture like four-poster beds and giant chandeliers, made the scenes feel like a 1920s Italian circus. As Mauro reflected on his life, the ambiance of the set, the costumes and the props evoked the sentiment that it was a long life, and one worth celebrating. Corteo was written in 2006—and things have undoubtedly changed—but it’s hard not to ask how cynical somebody has to be to not enjoy what Corteo has to offer.  

In terms of story telling, the show is definitely limited. Telling a story through circus performances is challenging—especially for Cirque du Soleil, a company  known for speaking multiple languages throughout the show. 

The aim of the performance is not to share the details of the story, but to remind people how beautiful and adventurous life can be.  

The show isn’t about the narrative, it’s about the seemingly impossible tricks that the artists perform.

As artist Slava Pereviazko walked across the stage atop a single ladder, not a sound could be heard in the audience. With no set or props, all eyes were on Pereviazko as he teetered on the ladder and reached up to grab the arm of an angel who is watching above.

It was a hard trick to watch—the audience was completely still as they anticipated the moment that he fell. It was a jaw-dropping trick, and there's no one else in the cast who can perform it.

While the acts themselves are phenomenal, it's the combination of dramatic costumes and sets, along with the physical skills of the artists that draws people in. 

The show in itself is a remarkable feat, but it’s even more so considering they pick up and move it every four or five days. 

The entire performance is crammed into 12 trucks, and is able to completely transform any space they perform in.  

The show is a remarkable performance for families and adults alike. The show challenges the audience to expand their creative thinking enough to appreciate the childish Corteo for what it is—a masterpiece. 

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