The magic that is Cirque du Soleil Worlds AwayDaniel Dercksen
Daniel Dercksen: It is clear; there is only one Cirque du Soleil, undoubtedly the world’s greatest fantasy makers, now spinning the ultimate dream.
Unique in scope, this immersive experience melds the best elements of seven Cirque du Soleil live shows that play in Las Vegas into one film. It is an impossible undertaking, but there is nothing that can stop the tour de force of this magnificent creative team.
Two young people (strap aerialists Igor Zaripov and former artist Erica Linz) journey through the astonishing and dreamlike worlds of Cirque du Soleil to find each other as audiences experience the immersive 3D technology that allows them to leap, soar, swim and dance with the performers.
After Mia falls into an alternate desert wasteland, she travels through six Cirque du Soleil tents that occupy a limbo state between life and death in search of love lost.
She searches for the Aerialist from tent to tent. Each time she peels back the curtain and steps inside, another Cirque du Soleil world opens to her.
In “O” Mia is lured into a realm of spirits, of ghosts, and a flying boat is like The Flying Dutchman; and KÀ is about spectacle, with a stage a quarter of the size of a football field that lifts vertically, spins around and changes.
In the highly acrobatic Mystère, an aerialist hangs from a cube in mid-air and performs a ballet with seemingly effortless manoeuvres, foreshadowing what is to come for the star-crossed lovers.
A mysterious self-propelled tricycle leads Mia to the Viva Elvis tent, where performers dressed as super heroes fly off trampolines to the music of Elvis.
The seventh element, Criss Angel Believe, is not a tent but Cirque du Soleil’s very own peculiar White Rabbit, a dancing disembodied bunny head who makes a timely appearance, beckoning her to follow.
In the small, contained act from Zumanity, what first appears to be water on the moon, transforms into a water-filled glass container from which a seductive contortionist entices the Aerialist to join her.
In The Beatles Love the act built around the song Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite is a circus-based theme, and takes us back to the opening circus, tied us back into the beginning of our opening circus.” Hadley adds, “Actually Mr. Kite, of all the acts that we filmed, probably has the biggest number of artists in one act.”
There is absolute magic in its realism and fantasy; the thrilling execution and ingenuity of the acrobatics, trampoline work, and aerial rope flying by the talented cast takes physical performance to an astonishing level of perfection.
The film sees the faultless marriage between realism, magic realism, fantasy and the dazzling theatricality of the circus, and takes you on an imaginative journey into a mindscape that is impossible to describe.
This circus love story is produced, written and directed by Academy Award nominee Andrew Adamson (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and produced by filmmaker James Cameron.
Adamson drew inspiration from such classics as Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Peter Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet and his own personal experiences from watching a traveling circus show in Mexico in 2000. He skilfully found a natural, cinematic way into the world of Cirque; the thin thread of narrative that weaves in and out of each but allows these acts to exist within the worlds that are created in a dreamlike way.
With visionaries like Adamson and Cameron teaming up with the producers and creative team and artists from Cirque du Soleil, the art of the circus, 3D cinema and film is pushed to the extreme.
The action, interaction and reaction are magnificently underscored emotionally by the score and transitional music between the Cirque shows used in the film by composer Benoit Jutras, becoming the dialogue of the film where the story is told through music and without words.
You will leave the cinema awestruck, as if hit by lightning of the gods on Olympus, and will most definitely return for multiple viewings as it is not humanely possible to absorb the feast of magical spectacle and the craft of acrobatics, performance and dance.
Add to this the vibrant design, with out-of-this-world sets and costumes, cinematography by Brett Turnbull and editing by Sim Evan-Jones, and the mind implodes.
Each moment marks the birth of a new breathtaking miracle, building to an explosive crescendo that will always be treasured.
Cirque du Soleil Worlds Away is not only about fantasy and illusion, but captures the essence of passion, romance and escaping mundane existence.
You soulfully journey into mythology and abstract realms, take a U-turn through the nostalgia of the Beatles and Elvis, and return to where the heart truly lies.
Escape into Cirque du Soleil Worlds Away if you are looking for first rate entertainment that has to be seen to be believed.
It is an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience that guarantees to change the way you see the world and celebrates the art and artistry of the world’s most gifted artisans. Go behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil Worlds Away: www.writingstudio.co.za/page1037.html
Cirque du Soleil live on stage
After the phenomonal response to Cirque du Soleil’s South Africa debut in 2011, Dralion will be on at the Grand Arena, Grandwest from March 5 to 10, and at the Coca-Cola Dome, Johannesburg, from March 21 to 24. Fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion (pronounced “Dra-lee-on”) draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. The show’s name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West. In Dralion, the four elements that govern the natural order take on a human form. Thus embodied, each element is represented by its own evocative colour: air is blue; water is green; fire is red; earth is ochre. In the world of Dralion, cultures blend, Man and Nature are one, and balance is achieved. Read more about Dalion: www.writingstudio.co.za/page1746.html
Freelance theatre and film journalist
072 474 1079