A group of 50 children and the supervising adults had a rare opportunity to experience Cirque du Soleil’s triumphant return to the United Center in Chicago on September 17th. Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities, that was written and directed by Michael Laprise, is a marvelously-created production that teleports you into the surreal world, that challenges your visual and perceptive senses and imagination.
Our group, made up of inner city youth and pediatric cancer patients, watched in awe as the main character Seeker, as a scientist, took the audience on an adventure in the mid-19th century, with a steampunk theme. It was there that they met peculiar characters that dwell in the Seeker’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The children, hardly able to contain their excitement, cheered, gasped, and applauded, as they witnessed gravity-defying feats. The show seemed to serve one such act after another – from aerial acrobatics, to contortionists, to daredevils propelling themselves into mind-boggling heights. The little ones were likewise amused by the Nico the Accordion Man, as well as Mini Lili — a Lilliputian measuring mere 3.2 feet and weighing 39 pounds – who found her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being one of the smallest people in the world.
The Upside Down World arrangement bespeaks to acts that keep you wondering, where a feast on the ground is mirrored by the upside-down feast up in the ceiling. The perceptions seem to be thrown out the window and flipped upside-down…the world where impossible hints on plausibility. Where suspense is just around the corner, causing the audience to curiously marvel at what is unfolding right in front of their eyes.
The Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil blossomed from a 20 street performers to a world-renowned company with over 1,300 artists from more than 50 countries. Current “Kurios” production features a cast of 46 performers from 14 different countries, and 109 tour members. The company that celebrated its 30th anniversary last year has thrilled and awed more than 150 million spectators in over 300 cities worldwide.
All in all a great time was had by everybody in attendance. The performance undoubtedly left an impression on the young minds of our junior attendees.
The Arts4Kids organization would like to extend its profound appreciation to Cirque du Soleil for its partnership. With the gracious gesture, and the marvelous performance, the Cirque unlocks its creative world to the children, many of whom would otherwise not fathom such an experience.
Photos by Martin Girard, Lana Warner