If you've driven on the I-5 corridor recently, I'm sure you've seen the massive blue and gold striped "Grand Chapiteau" in the parking lot of the Del Mar Fairgrounds; it's pretty hard to miss the 80 ft tall mast heads. Your children (or you) have probably squealed with delight at the thought of what is going on inside that tent...and hopefully you've already gone/gotten your tickets to go before they pack up and head out.
The latest Cirque du Soleil show to come to San Diego, Totem, written and directed by Robert Lepage, is a "journey of the evolution of mankind." This particular show first debuted in Montreal in April 2010 and is currently touring North America. Cirque du Soleil calls this particular show a "hybrid show", meaning that it is the first of the shows to be created to be performed in the Grand Chapiteau and also inside various arenas.
While I haven't seen the show yet (I'm taking the kids this Friday), I was lucky enough to be part of a private behind the scenes tour of the Grand Chapiteau a few weeks ago. And if you think what the public sees is amazing, backstage will blow your mind.
When we think about traveling circuses, our minds probably flash back to the early-mid 1920's train car circuses ala Water for Elephants. But not this crew. The tent travels by truck and instead of camping in train cars, this company of 180 + gets to stay in rented apartments.
And if you have a fantasy of packing up your kids and running away with the circus - that is a distinct possibly with Cirque du Soleil. In addition to the cast and crew, they have 26 children travelling with the tour ranging from just a few months old to 17 years old. The kids even get to go to school on the Cirque campus. And just like you would expect, we got to see these kids learning how to ride unicycles during a break from classes.
Now if you've seen any performance of Cirque du Soleil, you know that you need to have some serious talent to be part of that crew. With a database packed of thousands of possible performers, the average Cirque show takes years of preproduction work, using and developing the talents of their performers. So when you see an amazing team of acrobats working together, they probably have been working together for years, forming their bond of trust that allows them to dangle 30 feet in the air just holding each other's hands.
The tour we took was overwhelming with the details. Did you know they are truly a "green show"? Backstage you will not find little bottles of water headed for the landfills; the performers all have their own mugs to drink from.
Additionally all of the costumes, designed by Kym Barrett, are hand made in Montreal. All the beads, accessories - all specially crafted for Cirque. Barrett's designs come from documentary-based research, and the performers can be anything from a butterfly, Amazonian frog or Cosmonaut. Seeing the costumes up close, the detail is astonishing - I can only imagine what they will look like onstage.
Cirque du Soleil Totem is only in San Diego until May 27th - and after that the Grand Chapiteau won't return to San Diego for another two years.
Tickets are still available - and if you join Cirque Club, you will get all the information on tour dates and any promotions they have available.
*updated: Promotional Code Now Available!
2 Great Ways to Save on Tickets to TOTEM!
Click here to save up to 30% on select price levels and performances May 15th – May 27th
For more information visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/totem
*20% available on price level 1 for all performances May 5th – May 27th and price level 4 May 5th – 14th . 30% available on price level 2 & 3 for all performances May 15th – May 27th. Restrictions may apply. Subject to change. Applicable to select price levels. Convenience fees and delivery fee will apply. Prices shown online during the purchasing process already reflect the above offer where applicable. Cannot be combined with any other offer.