My three and a half year-old niece Cheska clung closely to her mom as we sat in pitch darkness inside this enormous tent. "I'm scared", was all she could mutter. In her young mind perhaps, she was thinking about creepy, crawly creatures that will suddenly come out once the lights were turned on. This after all was a show about insects, or as Cirque du Soleil puts it - "an immersion into the teeming and energetic world of insects". When the lights did turn on and the larger-than-life characters came onstage, she was smiling and clapping, sitting contentedly on her booster seat next to her mom. Welcome to the world of Ovo.
Ever since I saw my first Cirque du Soleil show ("Mystère") in Las Vegas several years ago, I have been a fan. Succeeding visits to Sin City allowed us to watch "O", "Ka" and their collaborative work with Celine Dion in "A New Day". There are other shows I have yet to see but I don't think I'll be traveling to Las Vegas soon. I'm just glad Cirque du Soleil is able to bring touring shows to New York - the latest being "Ovo". Since my sister from LA is in town with her young daughter, I thought of bringing them to see the show (now playing until June 6 next month in New York's Randall Island before moving on to Hartford, Boston, Washington DC, and Atlanta).
Like its resident shows in Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil's latest offering follows a central theme. Ovo, translated from Portuguese, means "egg" which is the very core of this journey into a forest floor teeming with entymological colors. We are therefore brought into the life of bugs, crickets, ants, fleas, worms, spiders. Or creepy, crawly creatures that we humans would rather not think about. As the insects deal with daily struggles to live, they find themselves in the midst of this one strange egg. What this egg suggests as it weaves in and out during the entire 2-hour program is a joyful validation of their cyclical existence.
What's remarkable (as with all Cirque du Soleil shows) is that NO LIVE ANIMAL is ever used, something which makes the production really all about human skill and artistry. The flawless acrobatics - representing various insects playing, working, eating, fighting or even searching for mates - present itself with astonishing vitality and fluidity of motion. And when you add hypnotic live music, vibrant costumes, nifty lighting and impressive sets, they all help create a very memorable entertainment for all ages. Even my young niece is smiling, her little hands clapping. Another Cirque du Soleil show really worth watching.