The Cirque du Soleil present hits the ice with ‘Crystals’


They’ve achieved it within the air, they’ve achieved it on the ground of a stage, they’ve achieved it on excessive partitions and underneath water. He is even achieved it (tastefully) bare at an adults-only residence in Las Vegas. Now, they’re doing it on ice.

“They,” after all, is the enormous Montreal-based firm Cirque du Soleil, which started in 1984 and is now the biggest circus producer on this planet. The corporate has achieved greater than 30 reveals out of which seven are at the moment working.

This explicit present at Agnis Enviornment known as “Crystal,” and the ice-skating emphasis is a brand new component for Bostonians, if not for Cirque. “Crystal” went away 4 years in the past – and took the anticipated pandemic hiatus – however made its subject debut on 1 June, the primary of 15 performances to run till 12 June.

It was improbable, and a pleasure to observe from begin to end. And, in some ways, a brand new pleasure. The hitch with Cirque is that, as dazzling because the present is the primary time you see them—and I’ve seen virtually each one who’s been right here—ultimately, the blossom falls off the rose. As in, “Wow, that was nice, however stayed there, voila.” The materiality and artistry might not differ in high quality, even when the fictional “plots” differ, however typically the takeaway—the expectations met—results in a curious form of fantastic-but-meh duality.

not right here. Or, as creative director Rob Tannion already advised me, “Acrobats on Ice, clearly a game-changer.” His problem? “How will we get them to do flips safely? With particular sneakers and gloves. And earlier than that, a complete lot of customization about feeling protected holding somebody up within the air.

Cane artist Amber van Wijk will get in some observe because the Cirque du Soleil units up within the Agnis Enviornment. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
as Cirque du Soleil "crystal"  At Agnis Arena, Hojardis Lee, who plays Crystal in the production, swings on a trapeze over the ice.  (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
As Cirque du Soleil prepares to carry out “Crystal” on the Agnis Enviornment, Hojardis Lee, who performs Crystal within the manufacturing, swings on a trapeze above the ice. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

So, sure, there are trapeze performers on particular skates. On the ice one second, within the air the following, after which again. Skates are round on a regular basis, save for some three-person handstand towers and the like.

One of many determine skaters, Scott Smith, educated on the Boston Skating Membership when he moved to Boston on the age of 20. He’s now 40 and one of many suit-and-tie “businessmen” who attempt to match one another with stunts. “Probably the most harmful transfer I do is I do a backflip on one other particular person,” he stated. “It undoubtedly takes some observe to soundly carry out it repeatedly over 4 weeks.”

The plot – often complicated and/or beside level components in a cirque present – has extra coherence and resonance right here. The view is a city sq. subsequent to a frozen pond. Younger red-haired Krystal is a teenage misfit who yearns to jot down, utilizing her pen and creativeness to create one thing past the mundane. At first, set on a multi-layered quartz wall in a small eating room, she settles into an argument along with her dad and mom about the way to press creatively. Different members of her household are seduced by the comforting numbness of TV.

Crystal goes skating on the pond. Very quickly, she creates illusions via snow, music flight and multimedia video projections as she descends from the venue’s roof on a cable, descending on the ice (representing an underwater imagery). is) and meets Alice in Wonderland-type characters, which she might have imagined and created. “My ideas turned his actions,” she says. “I can write my very own happiness.” Crystal additionally has a doppelganger or shadow self – initially, considered one of them, later three – who acts in union or confrontation along with her whereas she skates and dances.

"crystal" Cirque du Soleil artist during the making of (Courtesy Matt Beard / Cirque du Soleil)
Cirque du Soleil artist through the making of “Crystal”. (Courtesy Matt Beard/Cirque du Soleil)

The snow and the facet wall turn into the canvas for the projections. The motion of the 44 forged is near-constant and to us, it seems to be a mixture of grace and hazard. Pace ​​skaters utilizing ramps zoom within the air, simply lacking one another, an acrobat executes a sluggish 360-degree flip to 1 facet, businessmen and a plethora of girls in briefcases, proud faces. , zooming in all the way in which, together with a fast-paced, killer model of Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” (voice pre-recorded). Skates are generally micked, so that you hear a slashing pounce as quickly as you watch the ice shavings shatter. A live-action huge pinball match. Shortly after, a hockey recreation begins – Crystal’s Bruins fan (right here a minimum of), sports activities a B’s jersey, his identify and the quantity 22 on the again. (That is the retired variety of the Bruins wing Willie O’Ree, the primary black participant within the NHL.)

In two acts, solo acts, duets and bits are the place it is extremely a lot on deck. Pole work, juggling, clowns – all a part of the combo. As with one other Endlessly Cirque idea: No matter the primary job earlier than you, there may be virtually at all times a charismatic core of performers on the periphery, offering an virtually equal crowd. Sure, you will miss one thing – you’ll be able to’t – as a result of your head spins to 1 facet in an try to maneuver upward. There is a mesmerizing set piece titled “On the Workplace”, the place hordes of skaters watch robotic workplace staff imitate a click-clack typewriter soundtrack.

"crystal"  (Courtesy Matt Beard/Cirque du Soleil)
Sargue du Soleil artist within the manufacturing of “Crystal”. (Courtesy Matt Beard/Cirque du Soleil)

music? Aces are, as at all times, a world music fixture, from dramatic propulsive throbbers to Klezmer to finger-snapping jazz, some scorching violin enjoying, dropkick Murphys-esque Celtic rock and extra. A spotlight is a beautiful, full-throttle rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier” (vocals pre-recorded), with Crystal up within the air, swinging gracefully on a trapeze. (Ignore the lyrical theme of wine; get misplaced within the wave of sound and sight.) The music is by Montreal composer Maxime Lepage. Cowl variations of pop songs are a primary for Cirque Present.

“It is like a dwell film rating,” stated band chief Conrad Askland, who graduated from Berklee Faculty of Music’s on-line graduate program in 2017. , I’m working a pc dwell present with a number of screens. To my thoughts, if the music is finished nicely, you do not essentially should give attention to the music on a regular basis, like an excellent movie. ,

Musicians Field Backstage, band leader Konrad Askland and sound technician Splash "crystal" prepare for the performance of;  at Agnis Arena.  (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Backstage on the Musicians Enviornment, band chief Conrad Askland and sound technician Splash put together to carry out “Crystal” at Agnis Enviornment. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

It is not all thrill and funky. At one level, Crystal finds love and romance throughout courtship and ballroom dance acts. And what about Krystal she was initially dismissive of her household? It is most likely not an excessive amount of of a spoiler to say that there’s a reconciliation, as Crystal breaks again via the ice and, ultimately, results in a grand finale that includes pinwheel outfits of acrobats and skaters.

Opening Evening solely attracted 2,000 individuals, a 3rd of the home. I hope my enthusiasm right here will increase that determine. In a world lengthy devoid of dwell leisure – ​​to say nothing of the multi-layered dwell leisure – ​​“Crystal” delivers two hours of jaw-dropping, smile-inducing fantasy. It transports you to a different world, acquainted, but surreal and shocking. Oh, and when you go, costume warmly. There it’s chilly.


Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal” runs till June 12 on the Agnis Enviornment.



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