Cirque Du Soleil: Amaluna
by Matthew Lish
I recently attended the dress rehearsal of Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna, and it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. This edition of Cirque kept you on the edge of your seat, constantly wondering where performers would be emerging from, where the next act would take place, and what the next act would be.
The creative team behind Amaluna did an excellent job immersing the audience in the story and the world of Amaluna. Before the show actually started, artists costumed as different organic looking creatures wandered around the audience, “discovering” and “investigating” them. To me, one of the most notable performers during the preshow, was a reptile named Cali, who played with audience members’ popcorn.
Amaluna tells the story of the coming of age of Miranda. She is finally grown up, which is reason for a celebration. However, a storm hits the island on which Amaluna takes place, washing up a troop of young men. One of these men, Romeo, has an affinity for Miranda, and the two must endure endless challenges, putting their love for each other to the test.
The artists in this show are nothing short of spectacular; they are all extremely talented, which is evident by the quality of the performance they deliver. The show opened with a large display of poi and foot acrobatics. After some brief dancing, a man and woman performed an aerial straps routine. What I found interesting about this piece was the style in which it is was presented. Most of the strap routines I have seen are all set to graceful, elegant music; this routine, however, was set to rock and roll music, which made the routine very fast paced and always moving – a nice change of pace from the normal. A very short lyra routine came next, followed by a hand balancing act performed by the main character, Miranda. What was unique about this presentation of this classic act was that it was done on the side of a giant water bowl.
Miranda would present a trick, and then dive into the pool of water beneath her before performing the next trick. The act one closer came next, which was a stunning display on uneven bars. Act two opened up with a teeterboard act. I like this act in particular because of the energy that the performers brought to it; they encouraged the audience to make noise, and paused and signaled for applause. Next was a display of manipulation and balance by the “Balance Goddess.” She balanced thirteen palm leave ribs on each other, maintaining total equilibrium all the way through. While I found this act very impressive, I found that it dragged on too long and I kept wondering when it was going to be over. After another brief dance break, a Chinese pole act was presented. In this routine, Romeo was trying to reunite himself with Miranda after being surrounded by a “forest of sticks.” A juggling routine came next, presented by Miranda’s pet, Cali. This was a stunning routine, which even ended with a fire element. The last act before the finale was aerial straps. Three acrobats swung around the big top, landing in the aisles in the audience between swings. Even though this was the second aerial straps piece presented in the show, it didn’t feel repetitive because it was presented in a completely different style.
The finale featured the entire cast, and showed that Miranda and Romeo end up together. Two things that I feel helped the overall flow of the show were the band and the clowns. The band often came out from behind the stage and played right beside the other performers on the stage. Because the band played besides the performers for a handful of the acts and was a common element, it helped link the acts to one another. The two clowns, one the caretaker of Miranda, and the other, a pirate that washed up on island, helped in diverting the audience’s attention while props were being moved on and off of the stage, allowing the acts to flow into Amaluna is a wonderful show full of extremely talented performers. If you get the opportunity to attend a performance, I highly recommend it!