PostHeaderIcon Trust Me: Cirque Du Soleil's Totem is AWESOME!




Kimberly and Vitaly Paley, Julia Raymond, Dustin Clark, guy with mohawk, Ivan McAffee, Shauna Parsons, Juan Martinez gets photobombed at opening night of Totem in Portland

TOTEM IN TIMBERS-LAND: If you have any trust issues don't go see Totem, Cirque du Soleil's 11th show to hit Portland. It opened Thursday night and is currently playing under the bright yellow and blue Grand Chapiteau at the Expo Center in North Portland.

Trust is a large part of this big, yet in so many ways, small and intimate show/experience.

Instead of a giant set, Totem has been stripped back to an almost skeletal frame. In fact the biggest set piece is the skeletal remains of some prehistoric turtle. Prehistory plays a big part in this show which traces the evolution of man from pond scum to brief-case carrying scum. And so does a human disco ball (I can't wait to see some non-profit steal this idea for one of their galas). I know it sounds like it doesn't work, but trust me, it does.

Again. Trust. It's a word that kept popping up in my brain as I watched the show. Trust that the Fixed Trapeze Duo of Guilhem Cauchois and Sarah Tessier wouldn't drop each other to their certain retirement and that the roller skating AmeriIndian Massimiliano Medin wouldn't snap off the head of Denise Garcia-Sorta as he spun her around atop a giant tom-tom drum attached only by their necks.

And you can trust me when I say Totem is different from most of the Cirque show's I've seen.  After eleven times in this city (including eight under the big tent) as well as the several shows in Las Vegas that play day in and out, it might be easy to have a "been there, Cirque that" mentality about the work. But that would not give this show its chance. All in all, I think this might be one of the most compelling Cirque shows I've seen. It may not have as many bells and whistles (or in Cirque's case, swinging trapeze artists and jaw-dropping stunners) but that is exactly why I like this show so much. It's an old-fashioned circus and one of the best acts involves unicycles and bowl-balancing. Now, if you get me to suspend my reality long enough to fall down that rabbit hole and simply enjoy the simplicity of it all, then you've got a lot more than my trust. You have my attention. And that, my friends, is the gift of Totem.

Here is more from their press release: "Since its World Premiere in 2010, more than 2 million people worldwide have been mesmerized by the intimacy and beauty of TOTEM, winner of the 2013 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Experience. Featuring a cast of 46 acrobats, actors, musicians and singers, TOTEM is an uplifting array of athleticism, comedy, heartfelt emotions and surprising visual effects. Written and directed by multidisciplinary artist Robert Lepage, TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, TOTEM illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend TOTEM explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential."

For tickets and more information about Totem click here. The show is here until May 4.

Last Updated (Friday, 28 March 2014 16:00)

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