Daisy and I went to The (amazing) Leonardo museum and discovery center in Salt Lake City awhile back for an afternoon devoted to the life-cycle, the gaudy showy displays of nature, the subtle brilliance in even the most tiny contributors to the ecosystem -- and BUGS. Which happens to be the thematic direction of the recent Cirque du Soleil show.
The official word is this: "OVO is teeming with life. Insects work, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy in motion. Their home is filled with biodiversity, beauty, action and moments of quiet emotion. The awestruck insects are intensely curious when a mysterious egg appears, representing the enigma and cycles of their lives. OVO is a headlong rush into a colourful ecosystem teeming with life. Amazing Ants playing – no, JUGGLING -- their food! Flexible Fleas Flinging their colorful bodies into the air! Crazy Crickets! Silky Spiders…hanging by a single thread, they spin their web of wonder."
But unlike some artistic forms, in which you find yourself reeeeealllly searching for those concepts beneath the actual resulting product, OVO's high-concept statements only nick the tip of the iceberg of what they accomplish in physical form. The movement! The color! The VIBRANCE! It reminded me of that complete loss of time as a kid when you discover a brightly-colored/fuzzy/prickly/sticky/slow but determined caterpillar -- and you can just BE with it, have it crawl on your hand, watch it as it goes about its purpose, completely oblivious to the schedules of the human giants around it. OVO asks us not only to suspend disbelief and engage, but to jump through the looking glass with its performers to become part of a system that is usually far beyond our visual grasp and crowded imaginations.
Years ago, I became really curious about why some performers were so compelling and others, while clearly talented, did NOT capture an audience's attention in the same focused way. I came to the conclusion that we, as audience members, become most impressed and engaged when performers do something that we don't secretly believe we could someday do ourselves under the right circumstances.
The conceptual artists, choreographers, dancers, acrobats, gymnasts. of OVO...they are all doing things that I quite suspect are beyond the scope of this lifetime for me. And thus they impress the CRAP out of me and utterly fascinate with their works. But there is a freedom in it for those of us who want to try to be / have / become so much. When we release the questions of "can I do that?" or of comparing ourselves with those who are beyond our greatest imagined possibilities, we LET GO and can just MARVEL at the abilities of the human body, the creative mind, the legions of participants that make extraordinary artistic and cultural and intellectual experiences possible. We are WOWed. We are left exhilarated and energized (and spent!). We become part of that high-octane circuitry of idea into form WHICH IS ART and we are better conduits for it, stronger, clearer, bigger.
I'm going to OVO with our trapeze-class-taking daughter so we can marvel and gasp and get excited and think differently not only about the microworlds around us, but the life-sized one that surrounds us.
Who's with me?
Has anyone seen OVO in a different city? What did you think? If you've seen other Cirque du Soleil shows, which was your favorite and why?