We just returned from our trip to Vancouver to see Cirque du Soleil's Corteo. Amazing.
What I knew about Cirque du Soleil prior to being offered the tickets was that I'd seen a few acts on PBS, my aunt went to see the Beatles show in Vegas, and our friend Pat went to see a show in Vancouver a few years ago. I knew it was, basically, a circus without animals, so it would be a lot of tumbling and contortion and acrobatics. And very cool costumes.
When we arrived at the place, funky yellow and blue striped tents loomed large before us. I hadn't expected tents. Performers were everywhere, playing instruments, performing magic, greeting guests. At intermission, we watched a guy (who looked a bit like he'd wandered out of a jungle) playing drums, and a mime we were following turned around and presented me with a double-headed red daisy.
Our seats were three rows from the stage, so we got to see the mechanics of the show, as well as the performance. I suppose some people would find the show less enchanting to see the skirts of the angels dangling above the stage, waiting to become part so the scene again, out of sight of rows farther back, or to see performers being unhooked from their harnesses just off stage, flirting mildly with the crew member helping them out. Roger and I, however, enjoyed seeing the extensive rigging that made the show appear surprisingly simple. (After the show, we were talking to the head usher who told us that Corteo actually required the biggest crew because everything offstage was so complex.)
Corteo's premise is that a clown is dreaming his own funeral, and though it sounds like a dreary plot, it was very funny and had plenty of jaw-dropping moments. The clown's circus is based on a nineteenth-century European circus, so the costumes are all based on that period as well--and Roger read later that the costumes were all made of natural fabrics. (You probably won't understand why that's so impressive unless you see the show--which I encourage you to do if it's ever in your area. The head usher said they'd just come from Columbus, Ohio...)
Some of our favorite acts were: the lovers--four women who do acrobatics from chandeliers, the tiny woman harnessed to huge helium balloons (she bounces on the clown's hand), the acrobatics after the intermission which involved platforms and men flinging the women from platform to platform (and people doing flips on the trampolines below), the people in the silver rings, the tightrope walker (who walked up a rope on a 45 degree angle!), the jugglers, and of course, the finale (horizontal bars in a square, with another bar to the right and and another to the left of the square, and the performers' routine included up to six at a time using the square--what timing!). We weren't, of course, allowed to take pictures during the performance, so pics posted here are from other sites, and there are more pics when you follow the links in the text.
Our other adventures in Vancouver included getting a ScoopFree automatic kitty litter box, which may seem an extravagance for our single cat, but she is the pickiest cat about having a clean litterbox that I have ever seen. So we decided to get an automatic scooper. We can only hope that she appreciates what this will mean for her. Plus, it has a privacy hood which should mean (yes!) no more "missing" the box and this means that next time we leave for a long weekend, we won't have to put her in the kennel just to make sure she gets a clean litterbox. So far, she seems to like it.
We also visited Pacific Center for two reasons: The Apple Store and The Body Shop. The first because we needed a new battery for our laptop. It was a rather stark store--everything white and grey, in keeping with Apple's signature colors, except the staff who wore bright tee shirts. Roger was disappointed; he felt bugged by the staff, who in our estimation were too numerous and who clearly worked on commission. (He spent more time in the store than I did.) The one staff member who tried to help me while Roger was talking to the first staffer we'd engaged, was shrugged off by my pointing to Roger at the end of the counter and saying, "I'm with them." I never took my eyes off the iPod Touch I was playing with. (Those things are neat.)
We stopped at The Body Shop not because I needed anything, but because I have a Love Your Body membership which has a $15 gift sitting on it, waiting for me to claim it.
But, of course, I got the membership in Ohio, and although I asked when I signed up for the program whether I would have problems once I moved to Canada, the people who signed me up clearly had no idea what they were talking about, because while the Canadian stores will give me the 10% discount the membership allows me, they will not let me take what I wanted for the gift I'd earned by spending so much at The Body Shop last Christmas. I am not pleased. Even if I ordered from The Body Shop Online, they won't ship to Canada because The Body Shop Canada has its own online presence. It's the bleeping Vonage situation all over again. (But I'm not spending hours on the phone with customer service this time.)
But we did stay at a nifty little hotel downtown called the Burrard Inn. We were able to walk to the performance (maybe a dozen blocks or so) and there were plenty of restaurants around, and a coffeeshop right downstairs. Our room was white with an orange accent wall--and a very pink bathroom. And we really appreciated the rooftop garden (on the roof of the parking area).