Friday, October 19, 2007

Cirque du SO LAME. But not really!

Last weekend I allowed my boyfriend talk me into something I swore I would never do. I have always judged it to be somewhat bizarre and frankly terrifying, but I want to be a good girlfriend, so I acquiesced and agreed to attend a performance of Cirque du Soleil. Also, my parents paid for the tickets, and when you’re pushing 30 and your parents offer you free stuff, you take it.

I guess I should explain my issues with “Le Cirque.” Basically, if there are two things in this world that make me extremely uneasy, they are clowns and French Canadians. The fear of clowns is hardly unique, so I don’t think I have to go too into depth here, but my issues with French Canadians have haunted me most of my life. Think about it: can you think of any Canooks Francais who are not super intense and a little bit self-important? Hello, Jack Kerouac? Celine Dion? CELINE DION?!

So it was not without a little trepidation that I entered the basketball arena in which we were to see “Saltimbanco,” a show that “explores the urban experience in all its myriad forms.” I can’t say that I immediately grasped the theme, but I can say that I nearly became incontinent when I found myself less than 10 yards from a troupe of what my father called “post-apocalyptic” clowns (although, owing to the number of crop tops sported by the male clowns, Gay Pride Parades also seem to be a strong influence on their look). We were in the second row, so I was deathly afraid that one of them would pull me out of the crowd for some “audience participation,” but thankfully they humiliated other people instead, including one poor guy who got his shirt stripped off (See?!) and thrown into the crowd. Since I do so delight in the suffering of others, I was having fun in spite of myself.

After that some acrobats come out and flung themselves through the air, which I did not appreciate as it made me very nervous, but I respected their strength nonetheless. I mean, I went indoor rock climbing once and almost wept from fright. So good on ya, acrobats. There were also a set of bald, musclebound twins that did handstands on each other’s necks. It was an impressive display of strength, but they were just so not into the choreography – when they had to raise and lower their arms in unison, you could see the disdain in their squinty eyes. Why you would join Cirque du Soleil if you aren’t willing to bring the flair is beyond me.

Even though I came in packing plenty of skepticism and irony, in the end those spunky French Canadians charmed the pants off me. If you ever have the opportunity to go, I highly recommend it. And to all the performers, thanks so much for putting on such a great show. Except for the clown who mimed drowning in his own shit. That was just altogether too French for me.