In 2005, my parents, Krishnan and I went to Singapore specifically to watch a Cirque Du Soleil show. We had read about these two Canadians street performers, Guy Laliberte and Giles Set-Croix who had transformed “circus” in a Harvard Business Review article and then started to search for their show on the internet. When we saw that they were performing in Singapore, we chose to attend. Infact Kumarika and her son Neil also joined us. The show we watched in Singapore was called “Quidam”.
Read more about Quidam on this link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quidam.
The show just blew us away – it was outstanding ! The Big Top pre-show experience was also mind blowing. There was the red carpet, the champagne and the hors d’oeuvres besides lots of souvenirs on sale. I was still in my “buying” days then and I did buy lots of DVDs and T.Shirts. The DVDs haven’t come out of their cover even. I have kept the tags they gave us and the ticket stubs – thats how excited we got the show.
The acrobats seemed to have no bones as they twisted and turned and glided across the stage and swung from the trapeze and swings. For days we kept reliving the show. Appa was thrilled because he loved watching circus and magic shows – this was a magical circus :).
One can gauge how enamoured I was about the show that even my US colleague Donna knew about it and when I visited Orlando for work in 2008, she took me to the resident show of Cirque Du Soleil at Disneyland named “La Nouba”. It was also a mind blowing and world class show.
Last year when Krishnan and I were in Germany, I saw this email from “BookMyShow” that said, Cirque Du Soleil was bringing a show titled “Bazzar” to India. I immediately checked out the venues and when I saw that it was also playing at Aerocity, Delhi, I immediately bought the tickets.
On Dec 29th, Krishnan, Amma and I attended the Cirque Du Soleil’s show titled “Bazzar” in Delhi. The arrangements were fantastic, with lots of parking space and grub by “Andaz”. The best part for us was to bump into our dear friend Subbu, Tarita and their daughter Avni at the security check point. What a magical coincidence that they had also booked their tickets a couple of months in advance and ended up booking it for the same show as us. We got free food and also a free ride back home with them !! Perks of sitting next to the right person in your very first term at ISB:):).
We enjoyed the show but as Krishnan said later, it was a little underwhelming after “Quidam” … maybe there was nothing unexpected or maybe it was a little less daring. We did enjoy the acrobatics and it was a nice touch to bring in the Indian “Mallakhamb” act. The cyclist’s solo act was awesome and the lady who did the rope acrobatics while being held up by her hair was the highlight for me. There was also an item with an acrobat using a flame torch and doing stunts, that drew gasps. It was also nice to see an Indian audience following rules and not using “flash” while taking photographs. There were just a couple of “flashes” ! The Big Top was full and in time for the show to start, but arrangements for the differently abled were poor. We did have a few people being helped in and out of their wheel chairs, but there were several senior citizens who struggled to climb the tiny stairs and squeeze their way past the seated folk in any row. The seats were also not generous, especially for the “healthy” Delhiites. People did manage to come back in time from their break and no one poured coffee/tea/soft drinks on anyone’s head as they went past in the dim lights with their plastic/paper cups.
Overall, it was a great experience and Cirque Du Soleil has managed to keep innovating to keep the audience enthralled. Their competition is actually from a relatively unknown circus in Siem Reap called “Phare”. Don’t know if “Phare” has started to travel but we attended their resident show in Siem Reap in 2014 and it was world class at a much lesser cost. It would be great if Cirque Du Soleil and Phare were to partner because Cambodia needs all the support that the world can give to bring them out of Pol Pot’s genocide. Phare offers a way for the Cambodian youth to earn decent wages. Do catch their show when any of you travels to Siem Reap.
A quick snapshot about Cirque Du Soleil –