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Through the Roof 

Wednesday, Oct 26 2011
“Vertical.” That’s all we could say for hours after seeing Cirque du Soleil for the first time. “So … vertical.” We were dumbfounded because the troupe born on the streets of Montreal does, well, dumbfounding things in that tall spiky tent near the ballpark. Beds containing dreamy, lusty, acrobatic, half-dressed people fly overhead. Groups of jugglers toss 10, 20, 30, my God there must be 40 or 50 items going back and forth between them, rapid-fire and high into the air. A tiny woman floats above the audience, suspended from a batch of helium balloons. Trapeze artists enter the stage (and by “stage” we mean “air and posts and heavy cables”) at the uppermost reaches of the tent. Groups of acrobats simultaneously climb and fall and hop and bounce and grasp and swing and twirl through multiple levels of springy net. All Cirque shows have themes — there’s been darkness (Alegria!), sexuality (Zumanity), water (O), and insects (Ovo) — but that doesn’t really matter, the same way that the words of an opera don’t really matter if you don’t speak Italian or German. You get what’s basically going on — and it’s intense. This show is called Totem, and we think it’s about evolution, and maybe flight (duh!), and some mythological things too. But really, don’t concern yourself with that. Just the same, don’t try to figure out how they do what they do. You can’t. You won’t. You shouldn’t. Just relax, nod, and repeat: “Vertical.”
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 28. Continues through Dec. 11, 2011

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Keith Bowers

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