When I started thinking about posting a review of Cirque Du Soleil’s Ka, I was on an airplane with pen and paper. I wrote a few words then scratched them out. Wrote a few more. Scratched those out too. I truly could not find the right words to begin.
Those of you who know me (or at least read what I write) know that I am one to rarely, if ever, be at a loss for words. And yet here I am.
The experience of Ka is so moving, so wondrous, so poignant, so spectacular, so breathtaking and so filled with physical beauty and amazing skill that it literally swept me away for 90 minutes.
Since I clearly need help finding language to suit the experience, I called on some of my friends who saw the show with me.
Fortunately, a few other tweeple weighed in and at least gave me something to throw my grapple hook towards!
Here’s what is so unique about Ka. It is a story – a story told with physical movement. Sounds like ballet I know, but the movement I’m talking about is a combination of martial arts (wushu, I read at the Ka website), acrobatics, Capoeira dance, puppetry – and jump rope. Serious jump rope. Jump rope on top of a spinning cage that had the audience gasping again and again. As always, Cirque redefines itself and the genre it created.
(I say this because several reviews I read by people who were expecting a “traditional” Cirque show were disappointed that it was a story – rather than one act followed by another held together by a theme like “O” or “Zumanity”.)
The story takes place in another – and intentionally undefined – time and place. At the center are the Royal Twins who must flee their kingdom when it is attacked, are separated – each making their own heroic journey through perilous obstacles while being relentlessly pursued by their enemies. Along the way, each must transform themselves from budding youth into adult hero – with lots of help along the way.
I won’t spend a ton of time here giving you a scene-by scene – you can get a wonderful overview at the official Ka website: www.cirquedusoleil.com/cirquedusoleil/ka/
I do want tell you about my very favorite scene, though. It wasn’t the human airplane flying out over the audience or the extraordinary acrobatics of Firefly Boy or the final fight scene – which defies gravity and boggles that mind – it wasn’t even the spinning cage/jump rope spectacular.
It was a quiet little scene – a respite from exhaustive flight. The court jester, who risks his life to protect the Royal Prince, sits close to the young boy and teaches him shadow puppets. Gently arranging his fingers and his hands in front of the light of a lantern to form a cat, a dog, a rabbit. Once the prince caught on, they put on a brief shadow puppet show together – with only themselves as their audience. The moment was so…so…so tender, so childlike, so warm – and still so beautifully and skillfully executed that I wanted it to go on and on.
Actually, I wanted Ka to go on and on and on. I pondered hiding under the seats so I could see the second show. The doorman (in costume of course) assured me that I would have been found and kindly escorted out.
Fortunately for me, I am returning to Las Vegas in June. I will see Ka again – even if I have to go by myself. But I’m betting I won’t have any trouble finding a few adventurers to go with me!
Ka is playing at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. You find out more about it here: www.cirquedusoleil.com/cirquedusoleil/ka/
Tags: Cirque Du Soleil