One of my super-cool bloggy friends wrote this recent post about how theatrical performances with big budgets sometimes miss the opportunity to inspire imagination in the minds of the audience, simply because they can afford the real thing. For instance, consider mimes (which, despite their bad rap, I actually like, in a creepy sort of way...). The mime has zero props, no set, and a costume that is tied to no reality. Yet, he or she can effectively act out say, the eating of a sandwich in a doctor's office - and subsequently being kicked out of the office - without a single costume change or actual sandwich. A higher budget production might a) buy a sandwich, b) set out a few doctor's office chairs, c) hire extras to play the receptionist and other patients. This effectively removes thought as a requirement from the audience, and probably makes the whole performance a bit boring. As a former set-builder and ensemble member extraordinaire in several (low-budget) high school productions, I found her post inciteful.
Which brings me to the performances I saw this weekend: one, a BIG budget production (at least judging by the ticket price): Kooza by Cirque du Soleil. Two, a small budget production (ticket cost - priceless): my family on the Wii Fit Hula Hoop game after a few cold ones.
We successfully navigated ourselves to the Ravens Stadium O Lot where a large blue and gold tent was erected to house the circus. Kooza begins with a child-like person in a park, trying to fly a kite. There is plenty of wind, but the kite just doesn't fly. Then a man delivers a box to the person in the park, which turns out to be a human jack-in-the-box. The story is a bit fuzzy after that - in fact, if the audience was asked to turn in an essay on the topic as they left the Big Top, there would have been about 50 different stories. The only thing one can say for certain: it is very French. I probably do not need to elaborate for anyone who has seen a French movie like The City of Lost Children. Let's just say it is weird for the sake of weird, and leaves the story (if there is one) up to interpretation. Of course, the set and costumes were elaborate and expensive, but for a show like this - which includes tight ropes, trapeezes, and a large figure-8 shaped spinner with man-sized hamster wheels on each end - the money is in the props. It's a true visual spectacle, with talented performers: jugglers, contortionists, men on stilts, unicyclists, and clowns. Of course, my favorite was the scantily-clad man who built a tower of chairs and then hoisted himself up in ways that defied gravity. High budget, yes; but with creativity to spare.
Afterwards, we managed to get ourselves to the Pub Dog, where delicious beer and pizza was enjoyed by all. We returned home for show number two - Wii. Lots of laughter, some near falls, a definite need for the wrist strap and "clearing the room around you while attempting to bowl", and some Mii eye-brow tweeking ensued. Gravity was most certainly present. Though I think photos are available, I will spare you, Constant Reader. You're welcome.