The best Cirque du Soleil productions are the most humanistic.
The 13-year old "Corteo" is one of them, although the restaged, touring arena version at the Toyota Center through Sunday lacks the intimacy of the popular company's tent shows. The audience sees right through the action, since the linear stage, set up as two-sided proscenium, is open on both sides.
No fantastical backdrop immerses viewers in the spectacle; although Jean Rabasse's magnificent transparent scrims, inspired by an Adolphe Willette painting from 1885, greatly enhance the festive atmosphere."Corteo" is inspired by a joyful Italian procession, or cortege; so the linear sensibility of the stage works in that regard. The turntable at the center depicts a labyrinth inspired by the Chartres Cathedral - a symbol of infinity that underscores the cycles-of-life theme conjured by creator and director Daniele Finzi Pasca and costume designer Dominique Lemieux. (The idea comes, well, full-circle even with some of the stunts.)
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