I don’t miss the three-ring circuses of my childhood. After 147 years, amid animal rights allegations and shrinking ticket sales, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed last year. That’s OK by me. Elephants should be free to roam.
I don’t miss Ringling — because I’d rather go to Cirque du Soleil.
I saw Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam” in 2011 and “Luzia” in 2017; my boyfriend watched “Amaluna” in 2013. Neither of us could wait to see the Canadian traveling circus’ “Volta,” which opened last week under a white-and-gold big top at Marymoor Park in Redmond.
“Volta,” which is about finding yourself, was inspired by the spirit of adventure and street sports: Whether they’re doing tricks on a bike, hopping from rooftop to rooftop or jumping double dutch rope, these performers seem to find the power within themselves to do the incredible.
We were in awe of the design of the show: the sets, props, costumes and lighting echoed themes of alienation and self-realization. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the colorful costumes: Each was designed by Zaldy Goco, who is famous for his work with Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Gwen Stefany and the TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” They were as vibrant and glorious as the show itself.
“Volta” opens with The Mr. Wow Show — the show of all shows. Mr. Wow, the chief judge, holds the power to make you or break you. This is where we meet Waz, a contestant on the reality TV show who is in search of fame, love and acceptance.
Waz is ashamed of who he is because he’s different. When he was a kid, he had lots of dreams and aspirations. Now he’d rather blend in with the everyman — they live their lives glued to their cellphones, settle for their everyday routines and are out of sync with their true selves. They’re lost, bored, unhappy.
It doesn’t take long for Waz to realize that he doesn’t need fame but the freedom to be himself. We watch as Waz joins other free spirits, rediscovers who he is and who he wants to be, and then blazes his own colorful trail.
Here are some performance highlights from the show:
A man flies in long sweeping arcs while holding onto a lamp. Hanging on with his hands or feet, the man gracefully swings and spins. The light is a metaphor for illuminating the main character’s journey.
An act featuring a building sandwiched by trampolines transforms a drab city into a playground. In a nod to parkour, acrobats climb, dive and jump off the building.
A man and woman perform an acrobatic routine on a giant ladder while it pivots on stage. They climb, tumble and spin in synchronized movements.
Hoop-diving acrobats tumble and jump through stacked hoops, sometimes feet first, sometimes headfirst. They even throw hip-hop and breakdancing moves into the mix.
A woman performs an aerial routine suspended by her hair. She rises and falls, swings back and forth and spins like a top, all while barely touching the ground.
A BMX jump park is erected on stage for an act featuring riders who perform acrobatics on two wheels. The riders jump off ramps, perform tricks midair and speed past each other in a crisscross fashion.
Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; sbruestle@herald net.com. Twitter: @sarabruestle.
If you go
What: Cirque du Soleil’s “Volta”
Where: Marymoor Park, 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, Redmond
When: Through Nov. 4, 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday
Cost: Tickets are $39-$270; parking is $20.
More: 877-924-7783 or www.cirquedusoleil.com/volta.