Cirque du Soleil never really found a purchase in those specials to be found on television. The small screen was far too diminutive, even in its larger versions, to convey the ambitious, aethereal, and surrealistic flights of fancy that are the Cirque’s trademark. That and the inherent flatness of the medium. All that has been remedied and then some with CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY 3D. All the immediacy of a live performance, plus an experience that being in the audience can never include: the sensation of being in the midst of the performers, or viewing them from above, below, or in the endless revelation of slow-motion,
Written and directed by Andrew Adamson (SHREK), and incorporating Cirque’s Ka, Mystere, The Beatles. Love, O, Viva Elvis, and Zumanity, it tells the tale of Mia (Erica Linz), an adventurous waif who is smitten by The Aerialist (Ivan Zaripov) while visiting an enigmatic circus in this world. Magically transported from there to a different part of the time/space continuum, her adventures while searching for her Aerialist involve stops in each of the ci-mentioned shows, customized to the present action. It’s big. It’s bold, And it’s sublime.
Linz, a Cirque veteran, is allowed to demonstrate her considerable emotive power before finally taking to the aerial straps for a breathtaking, and mostly airborne, pas de deux with Zaripov. Her interludes tie the action of so many different shows together, but without forcing a traditional narrative on the proceedings. Rather, this is journey of pure emotion, full of twist, turns, and the wonder of the unexpected.
Left-brain, linear logic has no place here. These worlds are the stuff of subliminal symbolism, whether contortionists rising from the waves to turn their bodies into curlicues, or hipsters bouncing and flying their way around an oversized pinball machine as Elvis gets his R&B on. The adventure operates in a non-verbal space of resonant and high-pitched emotions of all types. The small whimsy of a tricycle piloted only by a pair of yellow gumboots coexists in perfect, even symbiotic, harmony with Asian warriors battling it out on a stage upended into a verticality that proves no hindrance to either the graceful chorography, nor the fierceness of the action.
The flawless artistry of the human form defying physics and physiology with effortless grace, spiked with pathos, wit, romance, or mystery, is a marvel to behold. The 3D gives the proper sense of space and proportion, making the experience more real than real, which, in an oddly pertinent way, is exactly what the Cirque du Soleil is all about. CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY 3D can take its place as yet another, and perfectly valid, iteration of founder Guy Laliberte’s vision.