Cirque du Soleil's Alegria.
(photo credit: Guy Prives )
It may have taken 18 years for Cirque du Soleil's signature production Alegria
to come to Israel, but judging by the warm Israeli crowd's standing
ovation at the Nokia Arena Wednesday night, it was well worth the wait.
the 55 talented performers from around the world, the Tel Aviv stadium
will be their home for the next three weeks as they jump, balance and
"fly" their way through the two hour-long performance.
which means jubilation in Spanish, takes audiences on a fantasy journey
of power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from
ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age and youth.
opening show got off to a slow start with the lights still on, as the
more traditional clowns entertained the crowds with their own unique
brand of slapstick humor. Once the lights went down, the journey into Alegria
's fantasy world began with the ringmaster Fleur introducing the cast of characters.Alegria
has no specific story line, instead it is split up into various
gymnastic performances interspersed with short sketches from
over-excited clowns. The first few gymnastic performances were a mixture
of individual performances and group acts which included the
synchronized trapeze, gravity defying hand balancing, fire-knife dancing
and the power track.
The performers had done a great job of
transporting the Israeli crowd into a fiery fantasy world, but this
proved too much for some in the upper tiers who called out for the air
conditioning turned up, before being shushed by other spectators. While
the clown on stage at the time was obviously affected by the short
shouting match which ensued, he continued in a professorial manner. It
was as if the script writers 18 years ago had anticipated the Israeli
summer heat, because a couple of minutes after the shouting match ended a
massive wind machine blew cold air all over the stage and audience with
blue confetti covering the entire arena, accompanied by dramatic music.
With plenty of ironic laughter, the first half ended on a high.
a short interval, the performers returned with a new burst of energy.
With the air conditioning now pumping to the max, the audience could
fully focus on more of the show's weird and wonderful displays. Many in
the crowd covered their eyes with their hands as they watched the
contortionists, the Russian bars and the Cyr wheel rotation act.
show's finale, the aerial high bars, was the act that produced the most
gasps and the most cheers. The three high bars set over 12 meters above
the stage was the setting for a team of strong male gymnasts to fly
through the air as they performed gravity-defying stunts.
the entire cast returned to the stage to take their bows they were met
by a standing ovation from the audience, which included Defense Minister
Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Even if the
air conditioning is set at full blast over the next three weeks, the
Nokia Arena will be on fire each night as the talented Cirque du Soleil
performers heat up the stage with their unique brand of circus
entertainment.Cirque du Soleil performs at the Nokia Arena until August 25.