February 8 -February 12, 2012

The blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau comes to Chicago this February with Quidam, an intense journey of the imagination. Cirque has grown into a well-oiled machine since its humble beginnings as a troupe of street buskers. Quidam, a classic in the Cirque repertoire, appeals to young and old alike, with both mature and youthful themes. It tells the story of young Zoe (Letitia Forbes), lost in a world without meaning, who is swept up in the imaginary realm of Quidam—where she meets characters who encourage her to free her soul, and where alienation is transformed into hope and connection. 

The show opens with Ringmaster John of the cowlick hairdo, and characters in white coveralls, and follows with a parade of circus clowns, beautiful athletes and wild feats of artistry, sensuality and balance. The sheer virtuosity of these performers is worth the price of admission. Add an evocative minimalist set and brilliant costuming, and we witness an aesthetic triumph. The colours of the costumes—from blue to pink tones—add to the show’s flexible pageant: linen, leather, jute, linen crepe, wool, velvet and 42 types of cotton on 250 costumes, along with 20 wigs and 30 hats including the bowler of the Quidam character with whom Zoe breaches the magical world.

Evoking a train station or airport, a giant arch dominates the set. Built from perforated metal tiles, the floor is lit from above and below and variably glows and throbs. Five aluminum rails make up the arch (or téléphérique) for an overall length of 120 feet. Each rail houses two trolleys, one used to move performers and acrobatic equipment and the other to raise or lower them to the appropriate height and position for the scene.

The highlight of the show may be the Skipping Ropes scene, a combo of double-dutch and boxer skipping that redefines playground rope skipping.

Like everything from Cirque du Soleil, Quidam dazzles and delights. 

From February 08 to February 12, 2012 Sears Centre Arena 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway,  Hoffman Estates, IL 60192


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