Hat on Top, Coat Below


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Night Out at the Circus

June 23, 2002

Mr. Karen and I went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam last night. (The signature image of the show would make a good logo for a journal called “Umbrella On Top, Coat Below”). It was our second viewing; we saw it the first time in Miami this past February. If we’d known it was coming to Detroit so soon, maybe we wouldn’t have made that trip. I’m glad we did go to Miami, though, because we got to meet one of my online friends and her husband there and they were wonderful tour guides besides being fun to spend time with. It would have been a good trip without the Cirque show. Once we knew Quidam was coming to our neighborhood (well, our metro area), we couldn’t pass up the chance to go again, even though it’s a lot pricier than our usual nights out.

Last night’s show was good, of course; it was Cirque, and we love Cirque. There were some differences from the last time we saw it: the pre-show clowning was a little more elaborate and the lineup of acts was slightly different. We got to see the hoops act that was in the program but not on stage in February, but the juggling act we’d seen then wasn’t on last night. A woman was playing my least favorite clown role in the show last night instead of a man, but sadly this did nothing to make the act more engaging. Still, one slow clown act is easy to forgive when the rest of the show is such a feast for the eyes. (I would add ears, but the music was a little disappointing; whether this was because we were sitting in a bad spot or because we’d heard the soundtrack on CD a lot since February and the live performance just doesn’t compare, I do not know).

Seeing Cirque live is so different than seeing them on screen; there’s a much bigger wow factor when the acrobatics are going on right there in front of you, live, that minute. You know it’s not camera tricks or the best take from several attempts; the performers either get it right the first time or they don’t, and when they nail it, it’s often breathtaking. Even in the parts of the acts that are not amazing (like the trapeze artist getting into position for her next trick), there’s plenty to look at because there’s always more than one thing going on at a time—a three or four or five ring circus without the rings. The show held up well to a repeat viewing. I’d like to see the other Cirque shows we’ve experienced again, but they may have to wait until we’ve seen some of the ones we haven’t had the pleasure of viewing yet.

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