Cirque du Soleil Brings Thrills & Fellowship to S.F.
by Barry David Horwitz
The brilliant and beautiful tumblers, dancers, lovers, and high-flying balancers are nearly close enough to touch. They take my breath away as they fly and leap, hurtling from stage to sky. I can barely look at the daring high wire acts!
The flying acrobats seem to touch the heavens. They embody a rarefied world of discipline few can enter. “Kooza” is the best Cirque du Soleil show ever! Since its premiere in 2007, Cirque has performed “Kooza” over 3,000 times in 18 countries on four continents. The cast and crew represent 19 different nationalities, a United Nations of circus fellowship.
Starting with a mysterious red wooden box that rolls onstage, “Kooza”—Sanskrit for “box”—gives birth to an meta-verse. Like a jack-in-a-box, a rainbow-striped clown pops out of the “kooza.” The Clown is the Trickster who teases an innocent schoolboy with enticing visions. We have entered magical worlds of wizardry, intimacy, and surprise.
The most suspenseful act comes from a muscular young man who balances on one hand while he slowly stacks a high tower of simple wooden chairs. Amazingly, he works while balances with his legs pointed up in the air! We can feel the danger. Finally, his assistants have to use pulleys to lift the chairs 20 feet up to him, as he gingerly builds his fragile tower. My heart almost stops.
In another breathtaking display, three athletic young women contort into twisting and beautiful shapes. They are wearing skintight, translucent silk leotards, painted with lacquer-ware designs of surpassing delicacy. They work together so meticulously they seem to be a single organism. They flow into amazing shapes–three becoming one fantastic figure.
On the high wire, a family of four hazardously cycles way above our heads. Yet again, I shield my eyes. Suddenly, they are not only riding bicycles, but also incredibly ferrying a third acrobat on their shoulders! An impossible, fantastical dream.
The jumping, flying acrobatic family trusts each other ardently. They move in sync, dancing and prancing to joyful music while daring death.
A lady in a skintight transparent leotard with flower designs cocoons herself in infinite hula hoops like a Slinky. Grounded, she reminds us of an angel, sparing us from the fearful heights. She manipulates the hoops in a mesmerizing dance, like a whirling tornado from the Arabian Nights.
In a touching conclusion, we see how the boy in the striped pajamas celebrates a world filled with fantasy and diversity. Don’t miss Cirque Du Soleil’s “Kooza,” an international wonder that surprises and thrills!
“Kooza” —written & directed by David Shiner, created by Serge Roy, set designed by Stèphane Roy, costumes by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt, by Cirque du Soleil, at Oracle Park, San Francisco. Info: cirquedusoleil.com – to March 17, 2024.
Cast: The cast and crew of “Kooza” represent 19 nationalities: Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
Approximately 190 people travel with the tour including more than 120 members of the cast and crew. Of all the employees, 50 are performers.