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August 16, 2017

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Putting a wrap on Cirque Week


Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil’s Cirque Week.


It’s December 2 and I’m sitting in the Love theater with a couple hundred Cirque devotees and my mom. The lights are on, the curtains are down, and the cirque team is in their civvies. It’s odd.

“How many of you have seen Love?” a stage manager asks. Almost every single hand goes up. “Well, today, you’re going to learn a little bit about the theater.”

Love is the only cirque show in the round. The theater seats about 2,000—that’s more than any other Vegas cirque production.

“The stage floor,” explains the manager, “is composed of 15 independently moving pieces.”

The floor descends and everybody applauds. When it ascends, it’s got a gold car on it. More applause.

Next, technicians demonstrate the theater’s winches and trolleys—and then some of the show’s props, like the yellow booted tricycle, the toy train and the smoking umbrellas.

Then the most impressive part of the afternoon: a demonstration of the 6,300-speaker audio system. We’re not allowed to hear it play the Love soundtrack, though. Some legal reason, we’re told. Apparently the Love tracks can only be played during an actual performance of Love … but can’t anyone buy a copy in the gift shop and play it anywhere they want?


One week later I’m sitting in the theater with two visiting magician friends. We’re here to learn about the vertical battle scene. I’m pumped. is my favorite show, and the vertical battle—where cast members fight on a piece of stage suspended in the air perpendicular to the floor—is obviously, the highlight.

The act took five or six months to develop, and it’s constantly being updated. Each performer has to know three separate “lines,” in case somebody gets sick and can’t perform.

As all this is explained to us, the massive wall is erected. A half dozen Cirque artists strap their partners into rotating vests, and then they bounce up and down the wall like agents repelling down a skyscraper. Plus kung fu moves.

And then a full performance of the wall fight. Only one guy is in costume—the jester, I believe. He hasn’t yet performed the wall act in the real show … but he’s about to. This is his dress rehearsal.

Halfway through, his wig falls off. The whole battle stops so he can reattach it. It’s a funny mistake, and it’s a good thing it didn’t happen during a real show.

“That’s why we have dress rehearsals,” the stage manager tells us.

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