latest updates

past issues

things to do

about us


odds and ends


t r i b u n e . o n l i n e
the students' voice


Alegria: a Review by Charissa Lu

Having watched the show on the 3rd of March, the performance was so spectacular that I think it necessary to share my experience.

After a good dinner nearby, my family walked to the Grand Chapiteau. "Grand" is quite an understatement; the entire atmosphere was one filled with excitement and curiosity. The entrance tent had a circular snack bar, and above it was ringed by paper birds of all hues. Upon entering the performance tent, the billowing orange cloth that simulated torches and the haunting background music evoked a sense of eeriness.

The stage was an unconventional one; not flat but sloping. The band of clowns played at the very top. (And no, the music wasn't recorded, they really knew how to play.)

The performers wore eccentric costumes, but with very distinct differences between the males and females. Generally, the females had matte-finished costumes. Lengths of string were attached to the gymnasts' lower back like tails, so when they moved the strings followed gracefully. The clowns wore padded pants such that their hips looked ridiculously fat and wagged as they walked. Protruding curls of "pipe-cleaner" material were common around the shoulder area. They all wore embroidered caps, which concealed their hair.

The gymnastics display was stunning. Part of the stage was removed to reveal a trampoline floor. Coordinated flips and somersaults of all kinds were executed with remarkable accuracy, and the profusely sweating performers were eventually rewarded by appreciative cheers.

A young girl, no older than fifteen, impressed the audience with her skill in manipulating a ribbon and hula-hooping. She controlled every hula-hoop that she added to her body, yet she appeared not to move an inch.

Two even younger sisters, about age twelve, were contortionists. Watching them bend and balance in the most grotesque manner, I was afraid that they would break an ankle or back. They performed on an elevated part of the stage, a disc with a radius about one-and-a-half metres. The disc revolved to show every bit of their performance.

My favourite part, though, is an example of how Cirque du Soleil cleverly involves the audience throughout the show. That, I think, is the circus' strongest point. In it, a mime artiste pretends that he is catching the late night train. A rope ladder is laid on the floor to represent the railway track. He pretends to part with some dear friends, aided by an empty coat. Finally the train leaves and he spends autumn in his destination. When winter arrives, he is cold and depressed. Confetti falls onto the stage like snowflakes. Suddenly, a huge draft blows from behind the stage and the confetti flies towards the audience. Battling the wind to catch the confetti, suddenly all is dark and you are alone in the world, with the confetti brushing your cheeks and the cold wind swirling around you...

No surprise then that there were three curtain calls and a standing ovation.