Cirque du Soleil big top is back at Atlantic Station in the heart of Midtown Atlanta with TOTEM. The past two Cirque du Soleil shows to make stops in Atlanta where Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour and Dralion were held at Phillips Arena, TOTEM is a return to the big top format with a mobile city. This marks my tenth Cirque du Soleil show.
Unlike other Cirque du Soleil that come to town, TOTEMis not evoking much of a buzz or publicity around Atlanta. However, I still wanted to get the scoop and got to peek inside.
Unlike other shows, I did not really get the cohesive story, but the acts do push the envelope of gravity, physics, and nature where the performers transfix themselves in all type of maneuvers.
TOTEM premiered in Montreal in 2010 and promoted as “a fantastic journey into the evolution of mankind”. The creators note “we carry in our bodies the potential of all species, all the way to our desire to fly, like the Thunderbird at the top of the TOTEM pole.
Written and directed by Robert Lepage TOTEM is his second creation. Lepage notes that “the word TOTEM suggest that human beings carry in their bodies the full potential of all living species, even the Thunderbird’s desire to fly to the top of the TOTEM. TOTEM explores the birth and evolution of the world, the relentless curiosity of human beings and their constant desire to excel.”
The night I experienced TOTEM there was a buzz in the air as you approached yellow and blue big top tent. With smells of popcorn and sweet delights the crowd was a buzz around the souvenir booths.
Once in my seat, the pre-show had the ever-present clowns with their own mischief and wicked humor making fun of the audience, simply silly shenanigans.
The set of TOTEM is a larger stage with a mobile bridge that moves up and down called the “scorpion bridge” that is curved, not linear to reflect the natural world. At 10,000 lbs and with eight hydraulic lifts is pretty impressive. Amazing how this structure changed from life support, speed boat, and space craft.
At the start a multi-dimension skeleton turtle shell creates a platform and this carapace moves up to expose the amphibians and fish beneath where frogs and all type of leap creatures move about.
In this circus there is not ring master but a “Tracker” that is an environmentalist conscious leader with a hat when removed glows from within.
Let me review some of the acts to give you a preview taste of TOTEM.
My favorite was a piece entitled Roller Skates where an Eskimo couple in white come together on a small circular stage. They jive and shift and go around and around, while this sensual woman evokes a sense of wonder and desire. It was fun, whimsical and daredevil.
In Manipulation, a Darwinist scientist glides into a larger than life beaker and juggles and moves these lighted balls while he is enclosed in glass is fantastic.
The Russian Bar number is made of a mixture of space and human creatures that use simple poles to maneuver up and down on a gyrating adventure.
Not to give it all away, I leave the rest up to the imaginations but there are jugglers, monkeys, a flying Crystal Man than transverse from the center of the earth to the outer limits of space.
The bodies of the performers are physically impressive and in one bit a clown (twitter @pipocrotti) comes out to expose his skinny frame only to walk away with a very statuesque woman.
You can’t have a contortion show without the usual set of unicycles with a set of juggling bowls and a balancing tea-pot with impressive precision. Also through in the mix a Flamenco dancer and a bull-fight right in the ring!
The live band helps to carry the wave of emotions that fill the audience and they oohh and awww.
With one intermission, TOTEM is a two and a half hour journey into the imagination. This meets the Cirque du Soleil mission “to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world.”
Check out and see what all the fuss is about and let TOTEM show case man’s evolution in our fair city.
Living in a green world, TOTEM celebrates the beauty of nature and the immense power of that comes together when man celebrates this synergy of creativity. It is sure to be the must show as we enter the holiday season.
TOTEM under the big top at Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta will run through December 23.
For tickets and show times visit: www.CirqueduSoleil.com or swing by the onsite box office and follow on twitter @cirque @cirqueclub #totem
Follow Dr. Wilson Trivino on Twitter @T4Vista