Theater Review: Cirque du Soleil: Luzia – A Waking Dream of Mexico at Citi FIeld

By Jonathan Spira on 20 May 2019
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While many people think of Cirque du Soleil as a show they saw in Las Vegas, few realize that Cirque reinvented the industry in the 1980s and 90s with a theatrical, character- and story-driven approach with an absence of traditional circus animals.

Cirque, which attempted to take Broadway by storm, has settled for something a little less ambitious, and far away from the Great White Way, namely an off-off-Broadway production in Flushing, Queens.

“Luzia – A Waking Dream of Mexico” is staged in the round under a big tent, not in a theater as was the somewhat forgettable “Paramour.” As such, merely approaching the tent is more festive and carnival like than the typical Cirque experience. The show – which Cirque aptly calls a “poetic and acrobatic ode” – is engaging from the moment a parachutist lands in a field of yellow marigolds and where he discovers an oversized key that, when turned, sends him and the audience on a magical journey.

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Contortionist Aleksei Goloborodko, thought to be the most flexible human alive

The cast – 44 artists from 15 countries performing 16 acts – takes us from a garden in the desert to mountains that lead to the beach, to the ocean where a lifeguard appears to ride on a buoy, and finally to an underwater world where it’s best not to disturb the sleeping cacti that live there. One performer, Aleksei Goloborodko, thought to be the most flexible human alive, performs contortions with a grace and fluency that are part dance and part yoga and give the appearance that he simply has no bones in his body.

The show is nothing if not majestic: a waterfall that rains down upon the center of the stage is striking unto itself but Luzia’s technical crew designed it so that the downpour appears to be a shapeshifter of sorts, with mysterious creatures enveloped in the mist, and dual turntables allow the audience to view the acts from a variety of angles.

At the very end, all of the inhabitants of the various worlds the traveler and the audience visited during the show gather for a feast around a table.

All this is just about enough to make the theatergoer (circusgoer?) forget how narrow the seats are under the big top. While there is plenty of legroom, the seats are narrower than those in steerage on an ultra low-cost airline and narrower than any Broadway or off-Broadway house.

The combination of astonishing acts, an elegant set, dramatic lighting, whimsical costumes, and live music made for a wonderful afternoon under the big top. Who needs lions and tigers and bears, anyway?

THE DETAILS

Cirque du Soleil: Luzia – A Waking Dream of Mexico
Limited engagement through June 9, 2019
Citi Field
123-01 Roosevelt Avenue
Corona, N.Y. 11368
Runtime: 2 hours and 15 min.
www.cirquedusoleil.com

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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