POSTED ON FEBRUARY 23, 2011:
Cirque hits the city with Alegría, a conceptual show about conflict
Inspired by A Spanish word meaning elation, joy or jubilation, Alegría is a classic Cirque du Soleil production intended to captivate audiences through music, death-defying feats and exquisite costumes. The show stages this week, Feb. 23-27 at the BOK Center.
"Alegría is a jewel for Cirque du Soleil," said artistic director Tim Smith.
The performance is most celebrated for the beautiful music that functions as the underlying foundation of the performance, which has become the best selling CD of any Cirque du Soleil performance. The show's finale and namesake song, "Alegría," is a positive expression of life that brings an emotional close to the performance.
Alegría differs from a traditional play or musical in that the performance moves around a theme or concept, and is less concerned with creating a discernable plot for the audience to follow. The concept expresses the conflict between the old establishment, portrayed through the characters of Fleur, the Old Birds and the Black and White Singers, and the beauty of youth represented by the Nymphs, Angels and the gold-clad Bronx.
The Old Order is highly elaborate in costume and reflects on the flamboyant aristocratic costumes of Versailles. The costumes of the New Order, by contrast, are simpler, more luminous and permit agility and movement associated with youth. The conflict that exists between these two groups of characters is resolved as the characters discover they must all work together to move forward through life.
"If you went to see Alegría you might not know any of that," Smith said.
The conceptual plot is highly abstract in its execution and is of secondary importance in relation to the spectacular feats of unusual athleticism and overwhelming aesthetics that drive the performance.
Some of the most memorable acts will include beautiful Mongolian contortion in which two female artists from Mongolia execute unbelievable feats of flexibility and control with their bodies. The Russian Bars is another favorite in which acrobatic flyers soar and somersault through the air to land on bars resting on the shoulders of powerful catchers.
Plot Points. Alegría’s The conceptual plot is highly abstract in its execution and is of secondary importance in relation to the spectacular feats of unusual athleticism and overwhelming aesthetics that drive the performance.
The finale act is also an Alegría favorite as artists climb 40 feet in the air to give audiences an acrobatic high bar performance only worthy of Cirque du Soleil.
Alegría is not a performance that anyone involved behind the scenes can take for granted. Enormous effort is put into creating a safe environment of the artists.
"The show challenges everyone involved to be the best that they can be," Smith said. "There is no coasting at this job."
A veteran to working in Broadway theater, Smith transitioned into the role of artistic director for Alegría eight months ago and has embraced the challenge with open arms.
"I love the diversity of the people I work with," he said. The artists represented in Alegría come from 17 different countries, which naturally involves 17 different ways of thinking and doing things."
For tickets visit cirquedusoleil.com/alegria or call 1-877-885-7222.
Also this week
Tulsa Opera presents Don Giovanni, the legendary lothario who loves and leaves women at a shocking rate, Feb. 25 at 7:30pm and Feb. 27 at 2:30pm at 610 S. Boulder. For tickets and more information, visit tulsaopera.com or call visit 918-582-4035.
Broken Arrow Arts & Humanities Council presents The Vienna Boys Choir. Performing all across the globe, the choir is world-renowned for the amazing harmony and skill of the choristers, aged 10 to 14. Feb. 24 at 7pm at Broken Arrow PAC, 123 N Main. For tickets and more information, visit artsba.org or call 918-259-5778.
Celebrity Attractions presents Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The most beautiful love story ever told comes to life in this lush, romantic Broadway musical for all generations. March 1-3 at 7:30; March 4-6 at 8pm; March 5 at 3pm; and March 6 at 2pm at Tulsa PAC, 110 E. 2nd St. For tickets and more information, visit celebrityattractions.com or call 918-477-7469.
Choregus Productions presents Complexions Contemporary Ballet, a groundbreaking mix of methods, styles and cultures creating an entirely new and exciting vision of human movement Feb. 22-23 at 7:30 at Tulsa PAC, 110 E. 2nd St. For tickets visit choragus.org or call 918-295-5965.
Tulsa Performing Arts Center presents Tulsa Gridiron 2011, features skits and song parodies written and performed by Tulsans from all walks of life. Feb. 25-26 at 8pm at the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. 2nd St. For tickets visit tulsapactrust.org or call 918-596-7111.
Encore Theatre Arts presents Steel Magnolias. Feb. 24-27 at 2pm and 7:30pm at Tulsa Little Theatre, 1511 S. Delaware Ave. For tickets and more information, visit encoretulsa.com or call 918-933-4203.
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