I figured that if I stood up last night at Totem by Cirque Du Soleil and shouted “That’s enough, stop this madness before someone gets hurt!”, the crowd might have turned against me. Still, I wanted to, at least ten times during the gasp-inducing two hour show.
Cirque Du Soleil routinely takes what is considered to be amazing physical feats anyway, and then jacks them up into actions that defy the laws of physics. Consider this, the average person is generally impressed with anyone who can do back flips on a balance beam. Now take the balance beam off its stable floor, make it flexible, throw it between the shoulders of two men, do that three times, then toss three acrobats on aforementioned beams and have them do backflips simultaneously without hitting one another mid-air and still landing with ease on the beam. Oh and just for giggles, let’s move the beams around. The brain simply hurts trying to figure out the logistics of it and so eventually there is nothing you can do but surrender to the magic of it all.
Cirque Du Soleil began in 1984 as a contemporary circus, devoid of animals, and combining eight key elements to make the show — dance, acrobatics, acting, arts forms from around the world, imaginary worlds, daring, and dexterity — what it is today. With one show initially in Quebec it has now expanded to 19 shows featured in 271 countries. Next to maple syrup, it’s our proudest Canadian export.
The problem with reviewing Totem by Cirque Du Soleil is that is utterly impossible for me to put into words what I saw without coming up short. Words like amazing, awesome, astounding, spectacular and wondrous, are lacking in imagination. They fail to convey the emotion you have when there. A biting-your-nails-nervous-excited-thrilled-edge-of-your-seat-laughing emotion. Do we have a word for that feeling? We do actually. Totem.
Totem by Cirque Du Soleil is currently playing in Ottawa until August 11. From there it moves to Columbus, Ohio and then California for engagements in Los Angeles, Irvine and Santa Monica. You can get tickets here.