Monday, January 21, 2008

Cirque du Soleil - Kooza

Cirque du Soleil's Kooza has left San Francisco bound for San Jose, so I feel a little more free posting about the show.

Warning Spoilers. If you haven't seen the show and are planning on seeing it stop here.

I'm hooked on Cirque. The athleticism, the artistry, the music, the pageantry, the creativity. Pretty much everything. While I have yet to make the trek to Las Vegas to see the resident shows there, when it comes here I now make a habit of seeing it twice. That way I see much more as the first time I'm just dazzled and the second time I see more detail.

However one has to accept that you will see more of the underpinnings of the show especially if you're paying attention.

Kooza is a wonderful show full of all of the stuff that I love like aerial acts. There's one called "Wheel of Death" that has a couple of rings rotating vertically on an axis looking like a couple of escapees trying to evade the police at a carnival, and it's thrilling. Another photo of it is here. There's another act called the Teeterboard which is vaulting from a seesaw that's marvelous also.

And as always the clowns are a kick and the reason that if you're going you need to be seated at least 15 minutes ahead as the clowns are often out in the audience 10 minutes before. If you get there late or just merely on time you risk a clown ushering you all over the place to everyone else's amusement.

But that is pretty much the only unpredictable part of Cirque and that is actually what I'm writing about. Similar to Dralion, Kooza made use of a volunteer from the audence who is a plant (someone from the show pretending to be an audience member). Unlike Dralion, they didn't own up to it. Also unlike Drallion, they used multiple audience plants. I counted 4 myself.

I'm still not sure what I think of this. In every case there seemed to be something essential that the audience member had to know in order not to freak out and ruin what the creators where trying to show. One in particular was downright risky and I could see the Cirque lawyers insisting that that not be an unsuspecting person. However it still feels weird. Like there was a deliberate deception that the creators found it necessary to do. It's like they don't trust me or something (to take it all a wee bit too personally.)

The other odd thing was that the main guy of the very talented Highwire act found it necessary to fake a partial fall in the exact same place both times I saw the show and I later got an usher admit that it's part of the act. It did increase the response from folks to see him redo the trick successfully but it felt a little cheap too.

But all in all I'd still see it again. Twice.


Elf said...

OK, I have NOT read your post. Will see it in Feb. and then check back here to see what you say. :-)


Elf said...

(REAL spoilers:)

I didn't get the feeling that the audience members were plants. The only one I wondered about was the lady who popped up from under the stage, and I wondered how they could find someone arbitrarily who'd be willing to miss part of the show and be able to do whatever they have to do to move around under that stage. I thought maybe they found someone in advance and asked them. But I thought that the guy that the pickpocket picked over looked and acted like a guy who'd wear a coat and tie to Cirque would look and act. And the lady in the rising chair looked completely genuine in her surprise about how much the chair moved, although she was obviously anticipating because she was holding on, but they could easily have whispered that in her ear ahead of time when they gave her the crown. And one of the security guards came down the aisle right when they were done with her and spoke quickly to her and she nodded, and it looked like "are you ok?" "yes" kind of exchange.

Did you see the exact same audience members in both shows? I'm just wondering why people keep saying they're plants.


Ellen said...

The woman who missed part of the show and popped up from the middle of the stage floor had very distinctive steel grey neck length hair curled inwards at the ends. During the second show I saw, I watched her at the intermission and she walked by herself off towards backstage.

The younger woman in the rising chair is a brilliant actress and felt completely genuine both times I saw her. She was so good at it, I was glad it was her in that role.

The first man may have been different each time but they both had the distinctive moves of a well rehersed dancer/performer. He knew what direction he was going to be dragged in or zapped.

The second guy - the one in the coat and tie was actually different the second time, but the natural color COAT was the same.