Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil

To get an idea of what the circus performance is like, you should first watch this trailer, although keep in mind that it doesn’t do the show any justice:

Now to the actual review. I saw this circus performance early during the semester, and it was AMAZING. I’d gladly go watch it again several times. It took place in Radio City Music Hall. The auditorium is gigantic, with seats several stories high, similar to the Metropolitan Opera.

Sitting in one of the front rows, I took a look behind me and saw how the walls are decorated with images of people sitting to watch a show. It gives the illusion that there are way more people than there really are. This was a clever trick done by whoever designed the place.

When the show began, we were introduced to a mad scientist who made strange creations. Among the first of his creations was the people in first act of the show, which were a group of dancers. This and other methods were used to transition between the acts, making them seem like a story line. Similarly, the whole show had a very gothic theme. The show also felt bad-ass and nothing else in the world seemed to matter. This wasn’t your typical tent circus with cute animals; this was a hardcore show.

The acts themselves were mesmerizing and unique. All of the dancers were very skilled. The music made you gawk at what was being presented. Gymnasts did feats that you would never see anywhere else. In one act, they stood inside human-sized hula hoops, holding on to the the edges, looking like the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. Within these hula hoops, they would roll across the stage into various formations pleasing to the eye.

Vitruvian Man

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci

In one act, an artist made images with sand. Using sand on top of a plate of glass, the woman would draw images in the sand with her hands. Light is projected through the glass so we can all see what she is drawing. At the end of her act, she drew an intricate spiderweb. Then, bam! The curtains open up and we see the same spider web constructed out of rope, with gymnasts dressed as spiders crawling all over it.

Intermissions between acts showed clowns who enacted very funny scenes. They picked on audience members, and used a very classic “Charlie Chaplin” style of comedy.

There were many other acts involving dangerous stunts, too many of which to describe in detail. All of the acts transitioned into each other, with a clown intermission in between. A viewer would never be bored. The main reason I enjoyed the show so much is because of the emotion it gave me. The show just burns with passion, confidence, and fierceness. It’s always very difficult to convey those emotions in a work of art. The creators deserve much honor for what they’ve accomplished. When the show ended, I felt like I was only there for an hour, although I’m sure it went on for longer. I wanted to see more. “Epic” is an overused word, and many things that are described as “epic,” don’t deserve that adjective tied to them. However, this show could definitely be categorized as epic. It’s a must-see.


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