“Cirque du Soleil means that I can make my passion into a living”
by Karl Sorne | Photography Dave Barfield
The name Cirque Du Soleil invokes a cavalcade of imagery, all of it associated with feats of wonder and awe inspiring acrobatics. No matter how many times you see one of their shows, each time feels completely unique and no less breath taking. Tallahassee was lucky enough to have one such traveling troupe bless our city for a weekend. Titled “Ovo”, the enchanting world descended on the Civic Center for five shows and astounded those that attended. They affix a smile to your face from the very beginning and make sure it doesn’t leave.
In Portuguese Ovo translates to egg, which you immediately see inflated and enormous on the stage. Aside from the literal egg, the deeper meaning of the performance is beautifully conveyed as we have come to expect from the Cirque Du Soleil troupes. The story revolves around the antics of insects as they cavort and caper, using their dance and acrobatics to relay love, life cycles and the mystery of this newly found egg. Comedic at times, heartfelt at others, we viewers were all heavily invested in these bugs and the ecosystem on display before us.
In addition to the performance, we were fortunate enough to be given a tour of the behind the scenes earlier that day. The energy of everyone involved was so contagious that we couldn’t help but catch the joy of being part of the experience as we spoke with cast and crew. Jorn De Laender who plays a cricket, mosquito and backup foreigner said, “Cirque Du Soleil means that I can make my passion into a living and the fact I can turn that into a career is yeah, just awesome”. The finished production is the tireless work of years of preparation so it makes sense that, once they are able to share the fruits of their labors with the world, it feels amazing.
Everything starts at Cirque headquarters in Montreal, where the performers are 3D scanned for costume production and trained for months on not only their performance, but also how to do their makeup as each performer is responsible for applying their own face makeup with proper brush techniques. Of course with all of the demanding physicality of their training, the actors lose fat or gain muscle so the wardrobe department on site for the specific shows makes modifications to make sure everything fits perfectly.
Watching them run though the crickets routine during the rehearsal, I was dumbfounded at the fluidity and grace with which they moved, as I am impressed with myself if I catch something I dropped before it hits the ground. During the performance that night watching the same routine as before, this time in full costume, and again I found myself shaking my head in wonderment. The small girl behind me never stopped cheering, exclaiming several times, “OH MY GOSH HOW DID THEY DO THAT?” It is a rare gift that unites both young and old in common dumbfounded stares and should be treasured for the source of light that it is.