100508 Cirque du Soleil: Corteo, Ottawa, ON

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When I first started writing these ticket stories I created a self-imposed (and loosely enforced) rule to not make reference to my fellow concert goers unless their presence proved integral to the story.  As a result, a reader might be mistakenly led to believe that I attend most of these events alone.  That is not the case at all; in fact it is quite rare (though not unheard of) for me to attend a show by myself.

But I did this time.  

I’m not sure exactly why I ended up flying solo when Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo came to town.  I guess m’lady just wasn’t feeling it when the tickets went on sale and/or I was clearly too cheap to buy her one.  But I didn’t mind one bit; another self-imposed rule I have is to always attend any new (to me) Cirque show I can, and that is a rule I strictly adhere to. 

And so when October 5th, 2008 rolled around I drove myself to the parking lot of the St. Laurent Shopping Centre where The Grand Chapiteau rose colourfully out of the drab asphalt.  Squinting in the noon-hour sunlight I ducked into the tent for the afternoon show and instantly entered Cirque’s world of magic.

The thing I love most about the Soleil style is it’s all-encompassing nature.  Everywhere you look there is something to see, even long before the show begins.  The sound is pervasive, effective, and live, the performers are explosive, and the storylines are always engaging, if purposely vague and generally confusing.  

Uncharacteristically, this show had a storyline that was presented in an actual, real language and not only that, the language was English so the plot was relatively easy to follow.  Corteo spun the tale of a clown witnessing his own funeral, a tragic story that weaved through bouncing trapeze artists, a quartet of jugglers, a hula-hoop guru, a teeterboard outfit, and of course a whole slew of clowns.  What a fantastic show.  It was dark, it was shocking, it was surprising, it was inspiring, it was magic.

In short, it was Cirque du Soleil.

Ten years later Corteo returned to Ottawa in an arena format, stopping for a weekend at the hockey rink outside of town.  I opted to skip it this time, almost breaking my own rule (it wasn’t a new show after all).  Curiously m’lady caught the show this time around without me; she took her niece.

At least she isn’t too cheap to buy someone a ticket.

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