Got wanderlust? Forget your travel agent; “Luzia,” the spectacular touring experience from Cirque du Soleil, is a passport stamp to a magically reimagined Mexico.
This, Cirque du Soleil’s 38th original production, invites the audience to take a journey alongside a happily lost parachutist (Eric Fool Koller) who happens upon a very special — and very large — key. Turning it also turns the scenes from a field for migrating monarch butterflies to a golden era Mexican film set to the deepest parts of the ocean, to name merely three. Combining the Spanish words for light and water, “Luzia” manages to make each element otherworldly on their own and, when combined, something beyond fantastic, something that exists in the realm between playful and haunting.
Alongside the parachutist-turned-clown, the through lines are navigated by a divine songstress (Majo Cornejo), a sprinting woman/soaring butterfly (Shelli Epstein) and a host of recurring characters whose re-entrances onstage are met with nothing short of glee. (Just how euphorically received are these folks? When exceptionally talented juggler Rudolf Janecek momentarily fumbled a pin, he still received a standing ovation immediately after his high-spinning act.)
38 shows in, you’d think that Cirque du Soleil would lessen a tad in their collective ability to dazzle but, if anything, they seem to be gaining speed. Without giving away any of the incredibly beautiful moments of the two-hour show, it’s a safe bet that how the crew is able to manipulate water droplets will cause at least a few moments of gasped astonishment. (The white knuckling will come later, with stunning acrobatic feats performed at very, very lofty heights.)
Other highlights in a performance simply stuffed with them are the surrealist landscapes (gorgeously constructed by set and props designer Eugenio Caballero — Oscar winner for ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’), the fluid puppetry absolutely imbued with empathy and the whimsical interactions between performers — and sometimes even with audience members themselves. Aficionado of futbol as an art form? Audience competition more your thing? Either way, you won’t be able to help but to be charmed. It’s no secret that Cirque du Soleil has always made insanely hard acts look effortlessly graceful, but the usage of aerial straps, masts and poles, and a Russian swing act will keep the room buzzing long after the fiesta finale.
You’ll begin the evening under the Big Top in Chicago, but you’ll close it out after leaving an enchanting, ethereal Mexico; one that, if you’re extremely lucky, you’ll be able to revisit again and again.
If you go:
Runs through Sept. 3, 2017
Under the Big Top at the United Center parking lot, Chicago