Cirque Du Soleil: Mystère

Only when the questions become more important than the answers will the solutions emerge.

Mystère is a tour-de-force showcasing a live-action fantasy that is designed to enthrall and excite one's imagination. Like with many other Las Vegas shows, it is described in terms of superlatives. What's amazing about it is that it it's all done live.

The awe-inspiring performance features a story that attempts to integrate human actors into a seamless whole to capture the complexity that we call life. The story itself is hard to describe, since it's composed of a series of vigenettes. It creates a magical world with exotic creatures not too different from what we can find here, but not quite the same either. There appears to be dialetic occurring between entities who are part of this semi-Alice in Wonderland world and those that are just thrust into it and trying to comprehend it (which may include the audience). Layered besides this fantasy setting are cool circus acts, including Chinese Poles, Aerial High Bar, Korean Plank, Trampoline, Fast Track, Bungee, Hand to Hand, Aerial Cube, Hand Balancing, and a Clown. The music nicely complements the psychedelic atmosphere present during the show.

Some of the characters include Les Epouvantables, two enormous babies processing the world around them; Desexmachina, a machine that regulates the existence of all things and inevitably grinding down the individual; the archangels, who are the guardians of happiness; Inti X and Inti Y, viruses who are ready to infect everyone; the Tribe, who are the primitive ghosts and modern humanity; and others such as the Asticots, the Black Virgin, the Firebird, Stats and Mephisto. These characters give an idea of the weirdness that you can expect when you see this show.

Some things that are incongruous is the presence of a clown who borders on the abusive. While the show itself could be taken in in a dark manner, I'm not convinced the clown is a good fit. In other words, I would preferred to see less of a circus and more of the atmosphere highlighted, but I am not its creator or director.

Mystère is not a circus or any particular static entity with label. It is more easily (and dynamically) defined as an exploration of what your imagination will permit. In the end, it's not the production, special effects or even the acrobatics of the performers that matter. What matters is the mood created by the performance (in part due to the set design, and in part due to a non-linear story), a mood that is surreal and appealing on many different levels.

The program describes the show thus:

Mystère is a celebration of Life.

From the genesis of the first life forms to the rise of human civilizations, the driving force has always been the vital speak of life, throbbing, struggling, reproducing, weaving through death and rebirth. Fromt he infinitesimally microscopic to the infinitely vast, from the most majestic to the most terrifying, from the most fragile to the most powerful, all is the making of life.

Mystère is a voyage to the very heart of life--where past, present, and future merge, and all our emotions converge. Mystère is the enigma of time, the bearer of hopes and dreams but also of tragedy. It is above all the remembrance of time past, memories of life unfolding, following the source and ultimately surviving against all odds.

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