Thursday, July 25, 2013

Some Thoughts I Had In Relation to "Quidam" by Cirque du Soleil Tonight

  • "Wow, my now-rather-intermittent blogging still qualifies me as a member of the media? Thanks for the free tickets, Cirque du Soleil!" 
  • "Hmm. The Barclays Center may look like a pile of old farm equipment on the outside, but it's super-nice on the inside, with great food options: Calexico, Fatty 'Cue, sushi, Nathan's, a kosher deli. . . . And these Calexico fish tacos are really good. Hooray for mango salsa!"
  • "This is my fourth Cirque du Soleil show, after two big-top performances on Randalls Island and O in Las Vegas, so I know the drill: a 'quirky' frame story featuring a wondrous child and a goofy clown, linking acts of incredible beauty and physical accomplishment, all set to music by French-Canadian Enya impersonators. Will Quidam surprise me at all?"
    • "Ah. No."
  • "But the formula works as ever: astonishing acrobats, gorgeous tableaux, swelling music, imaginative costumes, many moments that make you go 'Ooh' . . ."
    • "Or as the Brooklyn lady next to me said to the contortionist as she lifted her leg over her head: 'Oh no, honey, don't!'"
  • "The German wheel? This is new to me. How does he do that?"
    • "(The answer that makes all things in this show possible:  abs.)"
      • "What's a Cirque du Soleil performer's favorite liquor? Abs-inthe."
        • "And her favorite vodka? Abs-olut."
  • "James and I should do this at our wedding."
  • "Or perhaps we could involve the whole wedding party."
  • "What do Cirque performers do on their days off? Abs-eiling."
  • "The humor in this lengthy clown interlude isn't entirely scatological, but there are certainly more poop jokes than you get in the American circus. This accords with French picture books as well. There's a sociology article in here someplace . . ."
  • "With sights like this, 
    I'm almost ashamed to confess: I was a little bored. I felt I had seen it all before, either at prior Cirque shows or on the Olympics or even just at cabarets in the city. The problem in our modern age: When we can see everything at any time, it's harder to generate awe."
    • "Though this problem  may be entirely personal to me, as I'm old and spoiled. Children would have a wonderful time." 
      • "And if you've never seen a Cirque show before, Quidam would be a great introduction, as it's short, relatively cheap, easily accessible by public transport (as the Randalls Island shows weren't), and gorgeously executed and produced, as all Cirque shows are. Well worth the seeing."
    • "I am in awe of the abs, though, really."
  • "Of course they try to teach their kids to practice abs-tinence . . ." 
    • "(What must it be like to grow up as part of this international traveling human menagerie?)"
  • "And if they fail, they go to church for abs-olution." 
    • "(Or be pregnant as a contortionist? Do you have to stop contorting for a while? Can you still do this with a baby?")
  • "A stronger narrative would help the show as well here. . . . The Olympic gymnasts did many of these same moves, but because they happened in the context of a conflict against other athletes and their own limits, their story had stakes and meaning. The pleasure here, in contrast, is all in the beauty for beauty's sake." 
    • "The current Broadway revival of Pippin, which uses circus techniques, is really fun."
    • "Cirque should hire Neil Gaiman to write a frame story for them. Or adapt Sandman! They have the dreamy sensibility and visual artistry for it, and it would bring a new audience in."
  • "But perhaps this isn't fair to Cirque. They do what they intend to do, and do it well; and you can't ask for more from an artist or a show." 
  • "What do two Cirque artists in a relationship say when they go off on different tours? 'Abs-ence makes the heart grow fonder.'"
  • "And on that note, good night."
Quidam runs through July 28 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. For tickets, please visit the Barclays Center box office; or,, or; or call 1-800-745-3000.


  1. Cheryl, Abs-solutely loved your post. You had fun with that, didn't you! : )

    I saw Cirque in Vegas years ago. Unfortunately, it was a late show and I fell asleep. I would like to see them again -- awake this time.

  2. One of the Cirque artists made pre and post-pregnancy workout videos (for regular schmoes like us!), available through your favorite online superstore. The post-pregnancy video includes the baby in some of the contortions, uh, poses.

  3. I feel so validated. I also was rather bored at Quidam, compared to the other Cirque shows I've seen. I felt like it was missing the HUGE "wow" pieces somehow. My favorite is still the permanent one in Orlando, at Downtown Disney.