By: Isa Goldberg
May 10, 2019: Talking about Mexico, and building the wall, Cirque du Soleil’s new show, Luzia (A Waking Dream of Mexico) at Citifield, suggests intentionally or not, many ways to get around it. At the opening of the show, a clown (Fool Koller) parachutes from the sky, and humans dressed as birds, with tall yellow boots, gather. After all, things that fly observe no walls.
What a celebration of flight – of freedom of movement, and the freedom to move in every way! The energy on the stage is enthralling, liberating us from the boundaries and borders that we experience in the real world. Enter the freefall into the world of imagination.
Throbbing with life and excitement, the music by Simon Carpentier is also exquisite. Piercing brass, Spanish guitars, castanets, accordions, even a whistle plays notes one could hardly have imagined. A solo singer, Majo Cornejo, brings us dramatic and lyrical songs with a Latin slant.
Cirque du Soleil always boasts a fantastic array of ethnically and culturally diverse performers, and such is the case here. But this production, created and directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca with Brigitte Poupart transcends those sheer feats of awesome physicality. Here, we are consumed by the fluidity of their storytelling, as we travel with them through time and space. Luzia is all about movement.
An enormous silver horse is accompanied by a woman running on foot (Shelli
Epstein), until she turns into a butterfly. And there is a jaw-dropping act with 2 facing swings, and acrobats that fling themselves more than 30-feet into the air before landing on the next swing.
Arriving with the handle bars of a bicycle, Koller, our traveler, mimes biking to the beach. Discovering a beach ball, he throws it into the audience, drawing us into a game of catch. And those who stroll around the action – cactuses with succulent blossoms, cockroach puppets, and performers with huge fish heads – place us on this journey amidst all of nature’s elements.
Uppermost among them is water. Torrential sheets of rain pour down; an aerial artist (Stephen Brine) swinging from a strap, whips his hair back and forth through a pool of water; and 2 women (Rosa Tyyska and Nora Zoller) splayed within majestic hula-hoops culminate their dance in the rain. The symbolism of life, rebirth, of washing away sin is at the center of this journey.
Its extraordinary design elements make it an inspiring show, one kids should take their parents to see.
Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico ****
Cirque du Soleil
Citi Field, Flushing Meadows, NYC
Through June 9, 2019
Photography: Matt Beard