Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cirque's Zarkana... Can I Go See It Again?

I started a new job last week.  Well, it’s not technically new since I did a three week temp stint there the end of May.  Fortunately for me I found another temp position within the company doing something I actually like.  Maybe that will be another post.  Anyway, when I worked here three weeks ago, the first thing I did was look up what perks I get.  This may not be a big deal for many of you, but I work in the entertainment industry, we get all sorts of perks.  The two things I noticed were discounts to Yankee games and discounts to Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana, my two favorite things.

Now, I am a HUGE fan of Cirque du Soleil, so much so that I am a Cirque member so I can be sure to get first dibs on tickets when they go on sale.  This of course meant I was receiving a load of emails and mailings about their latest show Zarkana and in some(most) cases information about discounts.  For those of you who know me, you know that up until May I wasn’t working so I would see these emails and postcards and such and sulk knowing I couldn’t buy tickets.  So, of course, I saw the discount at work and thought, “I’m working now, maybe I can afford tickets.” Ummm… nope, still expensive (as most Cirque tickets are, but truly worth the price!). 

What’s a girl to do?  Call her mom.  My mother loves the shows as much as I do (for the record I’ve seen 11, now 12, out of their 22 shows) and she said she’d buy the tickets.  I was set!

Then curiously, I received an email from Cirque about Blogger Night.  If I had a blog, I could register to win tickets to see Zarkana and well… blog about it. I know my blog isn’t very popular and it’s not completely geared towards the Arts, but I figured, why the hell not.  The worst that could happen is I don’t win tickets. No big deal since mom already said she’d buy.  So I registered, clicked send and pretty much forgot about it…

Until I received an email saying, “Congratulations, you won tickets for you and a guest for Blogger Night!”  Well, go me!

I called my mom to let her know the good news.  Just in time, too – she was just about to order tickets!
The day of the show arrived and I met my mom at the pre-show cocktails at Oceana that they offered the bloggers.  Must say, the food and drinks were damn good!

Mom and I made our way to the show at Radio City Music Hall, sat down and waited for the show to begin.  As with all of the Cirque shows, the show really begins a few minutes before the stage performance as the artists/clowns walk around and interact with the audience.  It’s an extra treat that I’ve always found endearing of the shows.  I pity the people who show up right on time or late as they miss this.


The show begins with us meeting the magician Zark who must find his way through an old theater to be reunited with his lost love.  What I failed to realize, and I read later in the playbill, was the cutout of the scenery where Zark makes his appearance is shaped like the New York skyline.  My fault for not reading that BEFORE the show so I could have paid closer attention, as it was my eyes were moving around fascinated with everything else going on.

As Zark moves through the theater he encounters all sorts of characters (the acts). Of course, these are the acrobats and clowns doing the usual swinging rope, juggling, high wire, trapeze, contorting, etc.  With each Cirque show there is a uniqueness to each act, but I feel like there is always that one that stands out (obviously, seeing as many shows as I have, you can easily get bored with seeing the same thing over and over).  The one that stood out to me the most was the contortionist. 

While my mom was cringing as he shifted his body into various mind-boggling positions, I was fascinated by the artistry of his movements.  In the past, if the contortionist was female, she would be in a one piece leotard, if male, usually the same thing or just tights and no top.  However, the man performing was in a loose-fitting white ensemble.  The top was flow-y and removable (being used an additional prop). The rotating stage he was on must have been made of some material that enabled him to slide effortlessly into his various positions.  The lighting on him provided shadows larger than life against the walls that only emphasized his movements and made us think there were three people performing instead of just one.

Other noteworthy acts were the sand painter and the trapeze artists.  The sand painter was something new to Cirque (as far as I know), she seamlessly painted various scenes from the show.  The trapeze artists… well, I love them just for the sheer fact that they are flying around.  I would LOVE to get to do that one day.

Of course, even with all of this, I sometimes wonder if I go to the shows to see the acts or hear the music and see the scenery.  As with all of the previous shows, the music of Zarkana, fun and sensual, did not disappoint. As soon as I have money again I will order the CD. (I have the music to almost all of the shows - I told you I was a fan!) The stage came to life with huge archways that moved and shifted into different objects (the snakes were the most impressive) and “sang.” Something new with this show was the use of LED screens to project images of things actually happening on stage.  It was a pretty neat trick especially when one of the female artists fell into a big fishbowl of sorts and end became a baby.  Or when the clown was in space and we felt like we were floating along with him.

All in all, it was a wonderful show and I definitely recommend everyone go see it before it ends in October.  Of course, I’m also very biased and would recommend anyone see it even if it was bad, luckily it wasn’t.

I had some videos, but I am not as tech savvy as I thought, so you only got pictures from the show.  I think you’ll deal. Enjoy them nonetheless.

Until next time…

*All photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.