Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco had me.

Aug 13, 2012 by

Instead of throwing a huge bash for my 32nd birthday, I decided to spend my money on two big shows this season: 1. Saltimbanco of Cirque du Soleil and 2. Phantom of the Opera. I had to shut my eyes when purchasing the tickets because it was worth an entire month’s wages.

And worth as worth deserves.

This weekend was the Saltimbanco weekend and I was excited on two accounts: 1. First time to watch Cirque and 2. First time to be inside the MOA Arena. My feelings were a mixture of anticipation, excitement, and electric suspense. I have seen Cirque’s masterpieces on video (Saltimbanco, Varekai, Mystere, O, etc) and the thought of actually seeing the performance on live, warm stage was just an excitement too much to bear. Cirque du Soleil is not just any circus group. They are performance artists who tell stories in their unique dreamlike way and I was going to watch it and I was going to be very close to the stage and I had to start my blog. Now.

I was four rows away from the stage and the Manila crowd was watching the first weekend show of Cirque in The Arena. The venue was huge (and one must use the word in SM Standards to define huge). Kevin and I were seared comfortably right beside a very eager couple who was just as excited as we were. The only disturbance we had with our seat was the ushers who kept walking in front of us ushering latecomers.

The show begins at 8 PM very sharp. The act opens with a French towncryer who set the house rules in full Tagalog!!! We were all amazed at how she have memorized the whole script. The emphasis on the forbidden use of cellphone during the show captivated everyone’s attention and it worked. After the opening spiels, the first act opens. Just like the other Cirque shows, there are a myriad of characters in full kaleidoscopic colors that animate unique behaviors. And Saltimbanco has full of it, interestingly. They are blocked on stage in such a way that your eyes are filled with movements and sounds and colors. After all the dramatic and eerily dreamlike opening acts, the main events unfolded. The Adagio, Cavaliers of Light, Chinese Poles, Boleadoras, Russian Swing, Hand-To-Hand, Masked Worms, and finally Bungee. These are the act titles that defy gravity, defy death, soars up and away in severely dangerous fashion while maintaining the stream of feelings among its audiences. It is hard to describe really, but putting it simply, when the show finished: I went some place else beautiful and it stayed with me here inside. In between the acts are mimes of the different characters comprising the story. It is filled with comic reliefs, random audience participation (I wished it was me) and a lot of light-heartedness perfect for children.

Saltimbanco is beautiful. To quote Guy Laliberte, Guide and Founder:

Saltimbanco represents the challenge we have in today’s world: respecting each other, living and working together, despite our differences. We have to believe in a better world, and believe that we can play a role in it.

Each act roars with a euphoric climax that sent the crowd inside The Arena gushing either in fear or triumph. At some point, the crowd actually forget to give an applause because it takes quite a while to catch one’s breath and internalize what just happened. It’s the same sensation one gets when you wake up after a very clear dream. You say to yourself “it seemed real.” The thing with Saltimbanco is it is real.

The show runs until August 19 only. This is a must-see show for everyone who wants to experience a worthwhile 2 hours of celebration of life and the human gift of ability. Talent. Generosity. Discipline. Faith.

If ever you wonder why I’m all mushy and poetic, I tell you. That’s what Saltimbanco does. It explores your inner recesses and leaves you wanting for more.

cirque 1 - My Iloilo

Myself. And Saltimbanco.

This is how close we were to the stage. Amazing.

The first grand act, Chinese Pole. It was stunning and breathtaking. I couldn't stop gushing.

One of my favorite acts, Hand-to-Hand. This was just absolutely unbelievable. The strength, the coordination, the balance, and the neck!!! My Gaaaad!!!

Another favorite act for me is the Baleadores. They made fire and poi dancing appear extremely amateur. These act was mind-blowing I was screaming my lungs out in awe.

The crowd's favorite character, Eddie. He used nothing but sound effects produced by his own mouth and he brought us to different worlds as well as interacting with members of the audience.

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2 Comments

  1. Bopeep

    Hi, Bob!

    Are we going to see something like this in Iloilo soon?

    I hope so.

    • admin

      Hi Maam Bopeep! Uh, I don’t think it will ever happen here in Iloilo anytime soon. But if we have a really generous patron who can afford to build a venue such as The Arena and a throng of audience willing to pay a hefty amount of money for tickets, then why not? =)

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