With childlike wonder I watched the acrobats seemingly effortlessly soar above and through the stage, batons cartwheel into the ceiling, BMX bikes spiral around ramps, and wizards fall into trampolines only to be immediately ejected into the air. Poof. At the Cirque du Soleil: VOLTA, I was stunned and left breathless by the levitating woman, suspended simply by her hair, obviously a type of black magic, defying laws of gravity. I listened to Darius Harper and Camilla Bäckman as their powerful voices transported me to a place of altered reality. How are such acts possible? Were my eyes deceiving me? Were these optical illusions? Witchcraft, perhaps?
I sat up straight and, for the first time in years, my posture was impeccable. I held my 4-year-old son on my lap, clutching to him, focusing his attention. (No need, really. He didn’t take his eyes off the stage.) I eagerly looked at my husband and daughter, confirming the awe-aspiring performance. I saw my son squeal with unadulterated joy and innocent excitement.
We laughed with our entire beings when clown Shood Kood Wood appeared on stage and brought a new type of intimacy and warmth to the story.
We followed the tale of a man searching for his identity, after surrendering it in shame to hide his true self. And then we joined him on his journey, and merged with his desires and disappointments. We found ourselves, our own yearning for the fantastical and the enchanted.
For the first time in years (decades?) I was able to once again see the world from the point of view of utter newness. I was a young child discovering and learning, losing myself in adventure, and building a fort in my living room for the very first time.
“Your first time is always exciting,” a friend responded as I told her how incredibly moving and amazing the show is. And maybe she’s right, maybe I enjoyed it so deeply solely because it was my first time. But maybe, just maybe, the force of nature that is this show and my first time aren’t mutually exclusive. Because the show is phenomenal, jaw-dropping, and astonishing.
If I could, I would see it again in a heartbeat, although this time in much better seats. (If you can afford it, do get the seats in the center; we were to the side and the visibility wasn’t fantastic.) Still, though, what a show.
Do yourself a favor: take yourself to Cirque du Soleil: VOLTA. You need this. I promise.