KÀ overturns expectations by largely ignoring the usual Cirque format—acrobatic-style acts and ethereal performance art trappings with a tenuous-at-best connective tissue—in favor of an actual plot, as a sister and brother from some mythical Asian kingdom are separated by enemy raiders and have to endure various trials and tribulations before being reunited. Gleefully borrowing imagery from magical realist martial-arts movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, he production makes use of a technically extraordinary set that shifts the stage not just horizontally but vertically, as the action moves from under the sea to the side of a steep cliff and beyond. The circus elements—clowns and acrobats—are incorporated into the show in a way that makes loose narrative sense.
The story is by turns funny, whimsical, and pulse-pounding, with moments of exquisitely perfect bits of theater. It might be too long and intense for younger children, but older ones will be enthralled—and so will you.
The tragic death of one of the show’s performers during a show in 2013 has had only a minor impact on the fundamentals of this production but should have profound impact on the audience’s interpretation of what Cirque does, reminding us that these are real human beings performing dangerous stunts for our amusement. Stand up at the end of the show and applaud that.
Performances are held Saturday through Wednesday at 7 and 9:30pm.
- Grace Bascos