Cirque’s latest egg-stravanza 

Has Cirque du Soleil gone green? Let the eco games begin.

In what has to be one of the more inventive Cirque experiences to be hatched, the company’s latest outing, “Ovo” — or “egg” in Portuguese — clearly wants to illuminate the inner workings of our ecosystem.

In the show, which opens in San Francisco on Friday, beetles and other bugs frolic, then fret over the arrival of a mysterious egg, which somehow forces everyone to question its existence and perhaps their own.

Yet “Ovo” shouldn’t be written off as simply a postmodern “Circle of Life” plea for the health of the planet. Thanks to writer, director and choreographer Deborah Colker, it could be one of the more memorable endeavors found in the Cirque canon.

“We’re here to create art,” says Colker, who hails from Rio de Janeiro and has a background as diverse as the show. She studied psychology, played piano and even thrived in volleyball before transforming her artistic self through dance and choreography.
Colker also happens to be the first female director for Cirque, now celebrating its 25th year.

With “Ovo,” she says, she and the company wanted to change what people saw in Cirque, and to surprise themselves as well.
That’s evident in the show’s storyline, where insects thrive in pursuit of discovering food, diving into play and looking for love.

Fifty-four artists from 13 countries make up the titillating affair, one that performer Michelle Matlock says may surpass expectations.

“This is about love and the story is a lot simpler — maybe not as dark as some of the other Cirque shows have been,” she says.

Matlock’s celebrity soared with her one-woman show “The Mammy Project.” Here, she morphs into a ladybug determined to capture the romantic affections of a fly.

Anything goes in the Cirque universe, but Matlock is clear that the outing is more about celebration than anything else.

Beyond the romantic story, expect  riveting acrobatic acts: The finale features the jaw-dropping endeavors of 20 artists running, jumping and leaping directly up an 8-meter vertical wall.  It’s quite the feat — for any insect.

San Francisco Examiner heads to Cirque for a behind-the-scenes look at "Ovo." Watch exclusive coverage here.

 

IF YOU GO

Cirque du Soleil: Ovo

Where: Big Top near AT&T Park, Third Street and Terry A. Francois Boulevard, San Francisco
When: Opens Friday; 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 4 and 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 1 and 5 p.m. Sundays; closes Jan 24
Tickets: $42 to $250
Contact: (800) 450-1480; www.cirquedusoleil.com
Note: The show moves to San Jose’s Taylor Street Bridge at Taylor Street and Highway 87 on Feb. 4.
 

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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