Corteo puts clowns first in Cirque area production

Eight characters presents an irreverent, unpredictable version of “Romeo and Juliet” in Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo.

In Corteo (“cortege” in Italian), a clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels.

Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, Corteo premiered in Montreal under the Big Top in April 2005. Since then, the show has played to eight million people in 64 cities in 19 countries on four continents. It comes to the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver Oct. 10-14. See below for more info.

Clowns are almost always a part of the circus tradition in general, and Cirque shows in particular. But Corteo puts the emphasis on the clown, using the character as a stand-in for humanity. Characters in Corteo include Mauro the Dreamer Clown, the White Clown, the Clowness, the Little Clown, the Giant Clown and the August Clown.

Of course, this being a Cirque show, there are plenty of acrobatic stunts along with the clowning. The cast 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors.

Acts include:

Artist Marionette—Like a live puppet, an artist marionette suddenly appears to play with Mauro the Dreamer Clown in a setting which evokes a beach scene from his childhood.

Bouncing Beds—Six artists jump on two 600-pound beds that move on rotating platforms, performing acrobatic feats.

Golf—Bagpipes announce a patch of green light, suggesting a golf course. Then the Giant Clown walks on stage.

Teatro Intimo—Eight characters pile into a tiny theatre to present an irreverent, unpredictable version of “Romeo and Juliet.”

For Corteo, creators have worked to immerse the audience in a theatrical atmosphere unlike any other previous Cirque du Soleil arena shos. Set Designer Jean Rabasse has divided the Grand Chapiteau and its rotating stage in two, with each half of the audience facing the other half, so they see not only the performance, but also have a performer’s eye view of the audience. This is a first for Cirque.

Advance tickets for Corteo are available now at Tickets start at $49.

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