by Denise Almas
The circus is coming. The circus is coming! Don’t be late or you may find yourself following an unconventional looking clown instead of an usher to your seat — or perhaps someone elses seat. Thus begins the stunning and surrealistic Cirque du Soleil production of Mystere. As soon as the doors close, the ringmaster takes over and the true action begins with a baby playing ball and looking for his “papa”. After finding a “papa” in the audience, the story begins to unfold in a vibrant and visually stimulating performance.
With the exit of the ringmaster, the performers come alive with unusual costumes, dancing, and death defying acts that only highly trained professionals could deliver with poise, grace, and beauty. As music heightens the performances, these athletes fly through the air, balance on top of each other, and bring to life the mysteries of human emotion and capabilities. Without missing a beat, these international athletes perform feats such as the aerial high bar, bungee, and Chinese Poles.
Like Alice in Wonderland, this shows feels a bit like falling down a rabbit hole into a mysterious world. Though the tremendous physical acts may be the central focus of the audience, the ringmaster, the jumbo-sized baby who found his “papa”, and the clown bring a unique humor to the show. During the limited breaks for the acrobats, the “clown,” who looks more like Albert Einstein than a bozo with a red nose, attempts to play tricks on audience members. Though he has great fun before the show with throwing popcorn and giving what appears to be unwelcome back massages, this clown has no problem separating a couple in order to woo the lady. Though the ringmaster may take him off stage, these brief interludes between the acrobatic performances only intensify the feeling that you have entered a dream.
When these acrobats return, the audience is again amazed at their athleticism and sheer physical strength. These performers take gymnastics to a level far beyond any Olympic champion, demonstrating the full range of man’s physical capabilities when bravery, dedication, and training morphs into tremendous talent. These men and women are not ordinary circus performers. Instead, they are a shining example of the human spirit.
Mystere is a story of how man has changed over time, of human emotion, and of the power of life and death. This show highlights what humanity can achieve together. Though powerful themes punctuate this performance, the audience may not immediately recognize what is conveyed by the performance. Though the acrobatics may initially take away from the overall message, the memories of the dream state you enter while at the “circus” are vivid and long lasting. Because this show delivers a tremendous visual and emotional experience, it is a perfect show for both children and adults. So, take a plunge down the rabbit hole and enter the mystical world of Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere.
The critically acclaimed Mystere is located at Treasure Island. Performances are Saturday through Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.