Laughternoon, starring Adam London
"Zarkana," by Cirque du Soleil, is playing in the showroom at the Aria Resort and Casino. It
was brought in from Radio City Music Hall to replace the floundering "Viva Elvis." To quote
from the PR on the show, "[It] is a visually
stunning modern acrobatic spectacular set in a world where physical ability meets with the
extraordinary. Zarkana is
a visual vortex set in a twisted acrobatic fantasy universe where, little by little, chaos and
craziness give way to
a true celebration." It is a good description of the show...however, in a town that is replete
with Cirque shows, it
just doesn't stand out.
I take full responsibility for my underwhelming response to this show...my problem is that I've
just seen too many
Cirque productions for this one to be special. It is beautiful. It is spectacular. The
outstanding...just like every other production, and this one isn't even bolstered by a specific
theme or story. It
is a really good basic Cirque show.
Now, one the one hand, if you haven't seen a Cirque production before...this one will make you
fall in love with
Cirque. It has everything that one would want, i.e. the acrobats, jugglers, clowns, trapeze,
etc. On the other
hand, if you've seen most every Cirque show multiple times, then sadly, but with a few
exceptions, it becomes a
generic experience; (another acrobat, another clown, another trapeze, and even another "Wheel
I know that my familiarity has bred this contempt, and I am greatly saddened by it. How is it
possible to not
appreciate the talents of these people? Have we finally reached the saturation point with
Cirque productions? I
have specifically and intentionally made this reaction and review very personal because I think
that response to this
show is going to be radically different and directly dependent on how much exposure you've had
to Cirque productions.
For example...I thought that the clowns in this show were the worst I've seen...least original
and least funny. They
relied on humor of the lowest common denominator. ...and other people loved them.
The one act of true note was the sand painter. She was amazing. With just the sand on a glass
surface, she creates
one beautiful image after another. The fascination of this creative process was mesmerizing,
and the way in which
one image morphed into another was absolutely wonderful. Of course, now I wonder if this act
were put into four
other productions would I lose interest. Again...I hope not.
I keep blaming myself for the shortcomings of this show and not Cirque itself, but perhaps
there is some blame to be
shared... Cirque du Soleil is one of the most successful production companies in the world
with gigantic resources
of time, money, personnel, facilities, etc. They have huge productions running all over the
world. And with all of
that, you couldn't come up with something different?