Last night, I took Jack to the Baltimore premiere of Cirque Du Soleil's new show, TOTEM. For those who have followed the Shrek saga, I should mention that Jack has been great at school lately, so I thought this would be a good reward for him.
I had never been to a Cirque D'Soleil show and really wasn't sure what to expect. I was a little concerned about the 8 p.m. start time, but Jack's favorite part of the Barnum & Bailey Circus was always the acrobats, so I thought he would love it. The first thing I noticed when we got there was that there were almost no kids. I know that Cirque is a more refined type of performance, but I still imagined there would be a healthy contingent of kids. I honestly saw maybe five kids under the age of 10 the whole night.
Well, the kid population of Baltimore is missing out. The show was absolutely tremendous. Jack—who's been known to have trouble paying attention to anything for a very long time—and I were both riveted for the length of the show, which very roughly follows the evolution of humankind from swamp frogs to apes to cavemen to cell-phone-toting businessmen, with appearances by Charles Darwin (all of that was lost on Jack, though).
The feats of strength, agility, skill, and grace were mind-blowing. There were several times during the show where I found myself wondering how it was even physically possible for some of the performers to do what they were doing. One favorite was the two "beach bums" who each held onto a single ring suspended at times up to 50 feet in the air (without a net)—with one hand—and wildly swung and contorted their bodies in all sorts of inhuman ways. There was a group of six women on stilted unicycles who had stacks of bowls balanced on their heads, and they would kick them around the stage and the others would catch them on their head. Hard to describe, incredible to see.
But as amazing as the feats were, the most amazing things to me were the costumes, the make-up, and the set. Act after act, the performers appeared in these elaborate guises, so different than anything I'd seen before. The women on the unicycles (pictured, top) were my favorite, along with a group of who performed on mobile, bendy balance beams (pictured, middle)
Needless to say, Jack had a blast. When the show stopped for intermission at around 9:30, I asked if he wanted to go home. He looked at me as if I had threatened to kill Buzz Lightyear. Instead, we went to the "lobby"—really some outer fold of the massive temporary tent that houses the whole production—and bought him a dinosaur hat that snakes down his back (pictured, bottom).
When we finally got out, it was almost eleven, and it did take a bit to emerge from the parking lot, but, even at that late hour, it took Jack a few minutes (at least until we go to Monroe St.) to calm down from the excitement and fall asleep. I hope he's holding up okay in school today.