It was pouring rain last Thursday in San Jose, but for spectators entering the Grand Chapiteau for the San Jose debut of Luzia, the rain inside the tent was the real attraction.
Luzia – A Waking Dream of Mexico is the latest creation by Cirque du Soliel and is inspired by Mexico’s culture incorporating luz (light and Spanish) and lluvia (rain). Costumes, scenery and choreography all evoke a feeling of being in Mexico, albeit with the signature quirky French-Canadian circus feel.
If you have seen a Cirque du Soliel production before, you will find that Luzia is very similar in format with an amazing display of acrobatic artistry and over the top circus acts. What makes Luzia unique from all other shows though is its feel, artistry and the dramatic use of rain.
There is not a story to Luzia, rather a theme that ties all the performances together. Inspired by Mexican culture, Luzia is also represents nature in all of the scenes and performances. Disparate acrobatic and theatrical displays are all linked together not only through the common connection to Mexican culture, but also through their relation to nature’s elements. The sets reflect the natural landscape of Mexico, complete with desert bug puppetry and comical dancing cactuses. The acts seamlessly flow from one to another as the intimate circular stage rotates around to changing from airborne scenes, dessert land, beaches and the deep sea. A very charming and funny Eric Fool Koller serves as the main clown who moves between these dreamlike states to keep the show connected and moving along.
The cast is large, diverse and incredibly talented. In the first half alone, there is hoop diving on a giant treadmill, high flying trapeze stunts through a sheet of falling rain, and a seaside strongman who performs feats of strength at dizzying heights that most people could not do while firmly planted on the ground.
After intermission, the show dives back in with acrobatic pole dancing, a dizzying acro act complete with water flying, an impressive juggler and the requisite contortionist. I was both creeped out and mesmerized by the troupe contortionist whose body bent and curved in ways that defy all logic.
The fiesta finale came quick, and I was not ready for the show to end. Each performance was fresh and interesting and the spirit evoked was engaging and fun. Clearly the producers knew the audience wanted more, so we were treated to pop up performances outside the main stage as people exited the main area. Whether or not you have seen a Cirque show is irrelevant. Luzia is like nothing else.
Luzia is playing in San Jose under the Grand Chapiteau at the Taylor Street Bridge Lot E through March 19. Tickets are available through the web site at: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/usa/san-jose/luzia/buy-tickets.