Cirque du Soleil: Crystal at the DCU Center

Until last Saturday, I hadn’t seen any of their performances, but I’d heard about their work.  As with many shows I’ve had the opportunity to see, my parents had offered me a chance to see it, so I accepted.

I went into Cirque Du Soleil (Cirque) knowing three things:  Some shows featured acrobatics that took them to heights I would never ascend unless I’m at work grabbing something from upper steel, the music would be both loud and eclectic, and that some of their stunts can make people cringe due to the limits they push.  The only thing I wish I’d thought of ahead of time was taking more video.  As I write this article and I revisit some of the pictures I took, it occurred to me that there were plenty of people filming the performance around us.

The entire show was performed on ice and over a stage where projection changed the design every couple of minutes.  It was also interesting to see a non-theatrical show where the stage crew did prop changes on the fly.  Below are pictures of the various stage projections seen throughout the show.  To get a better look at them, click on an image; when it loads as the only thing on your device or screen, click it again.  You may have to turn your device sideways to get the full viewing.

R. Scott Reedy, a correspondent with the Telegram & Gazette, the local paper in Worcester, had a chance to interview the senior artistic director for the performance.

Q: What is the storyline of “Crystal”?

A: “The main character, Crystal, is an off-beat young woman with her head in the clouds. She is a dreamer, just trying to fit in. There is a lot of her in all of us. She faces challenges to which many of us can relate — mainly how to figure out where we’re going in life. At one point, Crystal is out on a frozen pond and falls through the ice. It is in this underwater world of her imagination that she begins to see her own potential. It is a very emotional journey for her in what is a lovely and touching story.”

The basic story is one of empowerment and the theme is apparent throughout the show as you get to know Crystal.  You get the sense that she’s lived a life where a number of barriers and circumstances have held her back. Naturally, her goal is to be an independent and free-spirited person who lives a life unencumbered from the opinions of others.  The beginning narration does a phenomenal job of setting up the story as you get the impression that she’s never been inline with others around her.

As was evidenced by the uproar of patrons in various states of shock, one of the scenes featured a performer stacking a series of chairs.  A picture of the final move is below, but given the picture quality from the phone I was using, it doesn’t do it justice.

performer doing a handstand on a stack of chairs

Performer doing a handstand on a stack of chairs

As you watch the story progress, there was one part that brought the whole performance full circle as we witness a ‘flood’ onto the stage as she shatters the ceiling to liberate herself from “caring what other people think of her.”

Crystal punching through the glass

The story centers around Crystal’s journey to empowerment and liberation as she punches through the metaphorical glass ceiling.

If nothing else, the choreography and music made it worth the experience.  The two most suspenseful parts of the performance were watching Crystal dismount off an acrobatic swing from approximately the same height as the stage lights, and the acrobatics cumulating to one of the actors standing atop a pile of chairs.

I will end this short article with some fun we were treated to before the performance began:

About the author

Mike Rana

Mike Rana is one of those people who is hard to define, though he's not immune to being labeled for something. He likes to talk about many topics including technology, business, politics, education, psychology, and human behavior. In his spare time, Mike enjoys traveling, people watching, analyzing the world around him, writing about his life experiences, absorbing information from various social media channels, and trying to be the voice of reason in the political arena.

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