GO DO – Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM

Totem 01

I had the opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil’s Totem recently. I have a fondness for the unique sort of entertainment for which Cirque is  known. While I prefer their installation shows in  Las Vegas, I still enjoy the touring shows as well.

The Crystal Man
The Crystal Man

Totem is currently on tour under the “Grand Chapiteau” after having opened in Montreal in 2010. Director Robert LePage weaves a tale that seems to have been inspired by various origin stories surrounding humanity and evolution.

The Carapace
The Carapace

As with all Cirque shows, the story is really only just suggested and provides a backdrop for spectacular acrobatic acts and incredibly good-looking, very fit humans doing incredible things.

Totem 04

One of the more remarkable visual effects in this show is a floor which is projected upon. The video interacts with the performers in real time. For example, there is a scene where the video is footage of the waters edge. Performers descend down a ramp and “enter” the water. As they do, the footage of the water “pools” where they walk. It’s a wonderfully executed effect that carries you into the next moment of the show.

Fixed Trapeze Act
Fixed Trapeze Act

The fixed trapeze act was especially good, with the performers exhibiting quite a bit of character in addition to their athletic prowess.

The Amerindian Dancer
The Amerindian Dancer

Also good was the Amerindian Dancer, who performed an energetic hoop act.

Unicycles and Bowls
Unicycles and Bowlst

The five Asian girls on seven-foot-tall Unicycles juggling bowls was a huge crowd favorite, as was the foot-juggling act. These two performers juggled fabric squares in a variety of contorted positions (backwards, upside down, balancing on each other).

Foot Juggling
Foot Juggling

As usual, the music was a combination of unique instruments with a lot of  “world” influences. One of the big differences for this show is that it features a  number of vocalists and they are often integrated into some of the performances

The Cast of Totem
The Cast of Totem

I think it’s important to get out and see different forms of entertainment. I think a steady diet of just plays or just movies would be come quite stale after a while. I like changing it up; and seeing a Cirque show is a great way to do that. The shows are  always well-presented,  thoughtful, and definitely remind you  what humans are capable of doing when they focus and train. They are also invariably full of beautiful technical moments that are intricately woven into the story.

If you have the opportunity to see Totem, I highly recommend it.

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