Imagine… An unbelievably huge tortuous shell sits before you. An organic and colorful landscape of tall marsh grass and lily pads surround the stage as the rhythm of indigenous sounds and vibrations serenade your senses. Your attention is drawn upward where a brilliantly bedazzled and sparkling figure, in a sort of celestial dance, descends from the heavens toward the stage below revealing beneath the tortuous shell skeleton a gymnasium of high bars, crossbars, and a trampoline, as vibrantly colored and spandex-clad amphibians swing, flip, and ricochet in an incredible concert of acrobatic agility, all while in perfect sync with the beat of the rhythm. As you pick your jaw up from the floor in sheer amazement you realize that the show has only just begun.
You have just witnessed the opening act of Cirque du Soleil’s latest endeavor, TOTEM; a fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind. Written and directed by Robert
LePage, TOTEM takes audiences on a magical journey filled with enchantment, excitement, romance, laughter, and sheer wonderment all while performing spectacularly breathtaking feats of acrobatic skill and precision. From beginning to end I was completely captivated and anxious to see what the next act had in store. And did they ever deliver!!!
Here are some of TOTEM’s highlights…
|A “Crystal Man” descends from the heavens to uncover the giant carapace tortuous shell.|
|Colorful fish and amphibian acrobats swing, bounce, and leap within inches of each other in a harmonious display of agility.|
|Five unicyclists in synchronized unison, juggle bowls back and forth between one another using only their feet and the tops of their heads to catch them.|
|A group of ambitious businessmen use long metal poles to push each other to highest reaches in a display of sheer strength and teamwork.|
|A trapeze duo, like two love birds perched high above the audience, playfully twirl, lift, and catch one another in a graceful and sensual dance.|
|A “Darwin-esque” scientist experiments with the “building blocks” of life as he stands inside a giant translucent cone and spins glowing molecule-like spheres all around in an orchestra of timing and skill.|
|American Indian tribal dancers create dynamic shapes with decorative hoops while performing an ancestral ritual dance to the beat of a native drum.|
|A duo of “Crystal Ladies” twirl bedazzled squares while on their backs, using only their hands and feet to toss the objects to-and-fro in a synchronized display of coordination and precision.|
|A group of 10 cosmonauts flip, jump, and balance atop illuminated beams in a show of strength and acrobatic precision.|
|A roller skating duo wearing Native American headdress romantically spin and twirled at breathtaking speeds in a ballet of grace and beauty all atop a narrow drum-shaped stage. Be still my heart!!!!|
Some of the transitional acts include a group of monkeys who prance around mischievously throughout the show tossing popcorn at the audience and meddling with several of the acts, along with Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon characters who visually tell the story of mans evolution through time. The show also featured bits of comic relief by way of several clown acts featuring Italian “Love Machine” Pippo Crotti and his compagno Mykhaylo Usov that kept the audience in stitches with their comedic candor and slapstick humor. A duo of buffed beach body boys with boom boxes and their equally fit female counterpart also lent their high flying talents with feats of strength and athleticism.
But, one of my favorite acts featured a matador character called “The Tracker” who effortlessly twirled and spun several sticks as Native American drumbeats and flamenco-inspired rhythms were played by an amazing musical band. My heart was literally pounding with so much excitement that I wanted to get up from my seat and join in the dance.
There were so many visually stunning elements of TOTEM, for example the costumes that the performers wore seemed to effortlessly suggest what each act’s storyline was about, and the amazing stage featured holographic moving projections that seemed to come right off the surface.
Cirque’s TOTEM takes you on a fantastic journey through time and leaves you begging for a second ride;
a ride you do not want to miss!
|I had a chance to go backstage after the performance for an exclusive tour to see firsthand all the work that goes into delivering this magnificent show each and every night, from the fabulous costumes to the makeup and the artistry of the performers; I was utterly amazed at the amount of effort behind this grand production.
Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM plays performances through December 30, 2012 under the Blue-and-Yellow Big Top at Atlantic Station in Atlanta. Tickets for TOTEM can be purchased at any time online via www.cirquedusoleil.com/totem or at the Cirque du Soleil box office, located inside the entrance tent at Atlantic Station. Visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/totemfor the complete performance schedule.
All photos and video courtesy of Cirque du Soleil
Check out this video of Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM