courtesy photoAmazing stunts in Cirque du Solei’s “Amaluna” in the Icarian Games

Women rule in Cirque du Soleil's 'Amaluna'

The twist in Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna”: The show’s cast is mostly female.

“One of the main things Cirque said to me early on was that they were considering doing a show that would be an homage to women,” says director Diane Paulus. “It was an opportunity I could not pass up. It’s usually 25 percent women to 75 percent male in a typical show. We are nearly the opposite ratio.”

“Amaluna,” which opens in The City this week, marks Paulus’ first collaboration with Cirque du Soleil. Preparing for the show, the renowned New York theater director (known for finding remarkable talent) spent nearly a year seeking top female acrobats from all over the world, and she witnessed “every single talent a woman can do.”

How it translates to the Cirque stage is remarkable. Audiences are taken to a clandestine island governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. A queen, Prospera, oversees her daughter’s coming-of-age ritual, which honors femininity, rebirth and renewal.

Despite the themes, Paulus says, “It was pretty clear to me that I didn’t want to build a ‘women’s agenda’ show. I wanted to make a show with women in the center of it, something that had a hidden story that featured women as the heroines.”

The production doesn’t entirely lack masculinity. After Prospera unleashes a storm, a group of young men arrives on the island and romance blooms between Romeo and Prospera’s daughter. Naturally, their love is tested.

So is the strength of Cirque’s dynamic performers. Numerous acrobatic elements include stunning feats with aerial straps, a Chinese pole, a cerceau (aerial hoop) and a large water bowl. One act destined to stand out may be the Icarian Games, a showcase with spinning, glowing water meteors.

“I think people will be surprised by the emotional impact of the live experience,” Paulus says. “What I was so determined to do was make the audience care about what they were seeing onstage — and connect to it.

“That’s a very strong focus of ‘Amaluna’ and it goes hand in hand with seeing women onstage,” she adds. “The power of that — seeing how these women convene together adds a real emotional layer to the entire project.”

IF YOU GO

Amaluna

Presented by Cirque du Soleil

Where: Big Top, Third Street and Terry A. Francois Boulevard, S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31; closes Jan. 12

Tickets: $55 to $270

Contact: www.cirquedusoleil.com

BY THE NUMBERS

15 million audience members who have seen Cirque in 2013

150 people hired locally on “Amaluna”

120 international cast and crew members of “Amaluna”

8 days to set up the Big Top

AmalunaartsCirque du Soleil ]Diane Paulus

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Fare inspectors returning to Muni with new uniform and a new approach

Absent thus far during the pandemic, Muni fare operators will be back… Continue reading

Limited indoor dining, church services to begin in SF

San Francisco will move ahead Wednesday with indoor dining and church services… Continue reading

Program busing homeless out of SF sees sharp decline

City to reopen in-person Homeward Bound office to boost participation

New law makes sustainable transit easier, faster and cheaper to implement

SB 288 will add a number of climate-friendly infrastructure projects to CEQA exemption list

Nearly 50,000 facing evacuations as fires besiege California wine country

By Luke Money, Anita Chabria, Rong-Gong Lin II and Hayley Smith Los… Continue reading

Most Read