Perchance A Mystère?
Posted on February 18, 2016
Have you ever watched a movie with a particularly bizarre scene, like in Insidious when the characters travel in the Further, and think “That is a really screwed up bunch of visuals?” And by screwed up, I mean nightmarish. Or perhaps you remember the video for Duran Duran’s Wild Boys? Incredible, though inhabited by those who could easily become the thing of nightmares. These are, I believe, what dreams are sometimes made of. They go to the bizarre end of the spectrum and as much as they titillate, they’re best left as dreams. I think someone tapped into this when they created Cirque du Soleil.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying my first show, Mystère, was a nightmare. Not at all. It was, in a word, incredible. But I’m saying whoever invented the world the show takes place in had to have drawn from the bizarre nature of dreams. Does that make sense?
I remember sitting down in my seat fifteen minutes before the show began and waiting for Little Brother to return from the bathroom. He’s seen Mystère five times, I think, and he was very eager to gauge my reactions. I remember asking him, when he finally sat down next to me, if he heard a baby crying. “Who the hell would bring a baby to a show like this?” He then pointed to the stage at two baby strollers with wheels lit in red neon towards the back. The babies I heard were coming from the speakers in the room.
Fortunately, I’m not the only member of the audience to ask such a question. There were two others in the immediate vicinity, older than I am, who expressed their displeasure before realizing it was part of the pre-show.
It’s weird, okay? It’s just…weird. And it really has nothing else to do with the show that I could determine.
The show kicked off with a man and his rather large puppet (who translated for the man), and then introduced several more characters who inhabit this particular Cirque du Soleil world, one of which was a rather large adult man dressed as a baby…with a particularly playful giggle. Fascinating concept that hit all the right notes, mostly comedic, and absolutely fucking bizarre as hell.
This was ninety minutes of incredible physical feats, misdirection, complete awe of what the performers were doing on stage or from the ceiling, and losing oneself in a dream world that could easily have turned nightmarish, but, fortunately, never did.
I remember watching part of a show either on TV or home video many years ago. It didn’t really interest me then and after seeing the show live, I can understand why. It is absolutely impossible to get much of an appreciation of what these performers are doing watching it on a screen. This is something that really MUST be seen live. Now, we had third row seats, I think, and while it was the way to see Mystère, if I ever went again, I’d sit back several rows so that I could take more in.
It seems to me one of the shortchanges of watching a performance like this on your TV is, an audience member, you don’t get the feeling of just how precarious the stunt work can be. Sure, the performers have practiced and they’re professionals, but there is a definite air of “Oh, my God…what if somebody slips?” to it all. You can literally feel the tension in the audience.
The performers who have to keep themselves in pristine physical condition have my profound respect. I couldn’t do what they do. And the world they bring to life? It’s a definitely a dream and one worth visiting again.
So, am I the only one who’s had this kind of a reaction to a Cirque du Soleil show?
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
2 Responses to “Perchance A Mystère?”
JP Adkins says:
February 18, 2016 at 12:21 pm
Bravo use to do a show where they were behind the scenes of Cirque. It was truly breathtaking to see everything they went through.
Eddie Lam says:
February 19, 2016 at 3:48 am
My first Cirque Du Soleil – Alegria was breathtaking. I saw it in Hong Kong in 1996. It was my first circus show without any animals involved. The music was fantastic and the act was phenomenal. With all special effect and choreography, it was just spectacular. I had no idea how human being can do such thing. Ever since, I am a big friend of Cirque Du Soleil.
First come to America, around 1998, I saw my 2nd Cirque Du Soleil – Quidam. I was speechless. The weird thing, like a tall man without head walking around the stage, I love it. I can still remember Quidam music in my head.
Ever since, I think I have seen over 10 Cirque Du Soleil shows. Not every title is memorable. Like life, first time always the best.
I am glad I introduced you and you did enjoy it. Like my husband, he is a big fan now. Perhaps next time we can see O in Vegas. Only if you are not mean 🙂