We have been fans of Cirque du Soleil for many years. I first stumbled on one of their shows back in the 80s by accident while channel surfing on the TV. Its mesmerizing music, colorful costumes, choreography, and of course, the acrobatics take you in for the duration of the show and then let you out of the TV when it ends! Since then, I have purchased about 6-7 DVDs of their shows and never got disappointed. We watched all of them multiple times.
Just before Elif told us their arrival date in Rhode Island, Jan had found out that Cirque du Soleil would be coming to Boston with a show called LUZIA. After we found out that they would be arriving in the last week in June, I got tickets for all of us to go to Boston and enjoy the live performance. I chose a mid-afternoon show so that we would not be too late to return home, it started at 4:30 PM. Just to have comfortable travel, I decided that we should leave around 1:00 PM and be there probably around 2:30 PM or so. Then, we would kill time looking around, shopping at the gift shop, and slowly go to our seats. Well! Suffolk Downs where Cirque du Soleil set up its tent is about 62 miles from our house and would normally take about 75 minutes or so. The first hour passed as planned, we traveled about 54 miles in that time and entered the tunnel to connect to Rt 90. The last 7 miles took us 2 hours and 15 minutes, and we barely made the show!
After I bought the tickets, I called Cirque du Soleil to ask if there was nearby handicapped parking and whether I could take photographs. The answer was yes to both, there was ample handicapped parking right next to the tent, even complimentary valet parking, and I could take photographs and should bring my camera. Not having a sense of how far we would be sitting from the stage, I put on my 70-200 mm lens on my Canon 5D, charged the battery and got a spare one, then formatted the memory card for fresh storage.
As we waited in traffic, I gave the tickets to Jan to find out how long the show was. She found out that it was altogether about 2 hours and 30 minutes with an intermission. She also read that taking photographs or video was not permitted during the show! Bummer! As we eventually arrived at Suffolk Downs horse race tracks, I asked where the handicapped parking was. The young man directing the traffic pointed at the VIP parking entrance and told me that it would be $20! I told him that the information given on the phone did not match the actual practice regarding parking and taking photographs. He put the parking ticket in my windshield and looked at the credit card I was giving him. After checking with his coworker, and finding out that their credit card reader was elsewhere, he said: “The parking is on the house,” and pointed toward the parking near the tents. I parked the car, we had about 15 minutes for the show to start! Elif suggested that I left the camera in the car but I was not about to leave a high-value item even in the trunk. Although I would not be able to take photographs, I wanted to keep the camera close to me to keep it safe.
Luckily, there were no stairs to climb and we settled in our seats. We were not too far from the stage, and they started making announcements including “picture and video-taking were perfectly fine so long as no flash was used!” Another pleasant surprise, after the parking situation! The lights dimmed, colorful costumes started to appear on stage, the music started and LUZIA got rolling. Unlike their usual practice of singing in their own, made-up language, this one featured all the songs in Spanish!. The main theme was also an actual place, Mexico. According to the Cirque du Soleil website, the title LUZIA blends light and rain “where light (‘Luz’ in Spanish) quenches the spirit, and rain (‘Lluvia.’”) soothes the soul.” For the next hour, we enjoyed one acrobatic act after another.
The lens I chose proved to be a bit too long, I shot most of the time at the low-end, 70mm focal length. I would have been better off with my 24-70 mm lens instead. Keep that in mind. Also, our seats were on the side and the giant disc hanging behind the stage did not show up as a background in my photographs. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is good because I do not have a distracting background behind the performers. It is not a good thing because the iconic element did not show up in my photographs. A matter of a point of view! (Pun intended!)
During the intermission, Elif and Mina went out and came back with a pretzel and a bottle of water for me and Jan. I stayed put as I did not want to get into the crowd. Towards the end of the intermission, people started returning to their seats. A little girl came back with a flower tiara that was lit from the inside, and she was wearing the wings of a butterfly as one of the characters wore on stage. She looked so charming, I snapped a few photographs of her as her mother was trying to do the same. As they sat down, I walked down a couple of rows and gave her my business card, and told her she can have the photographs when I put them on the site. We’ll see if she would like larger copies of the files.
Soon after, the second half started with more acts, more costumes, more music, more rain on stage. We watched them with amazement, like everyone else, and soon it was the parting party, another hour had passed! Some people started to leave before the show came to an end, probably to beat the traffic. Mina and I stopped at the souvenir shop, where she picked up a keychain. We waited in line to pay for it as Jan and Elif went to the car to roll down the windows.
We drove to Charlestown to have dinner at Warren Tavern, which came recommended by our friend Karen. The map warned that parking may be difficult at that location, but we decided to give it a try. As we drove, I told my crew that we would find a parking spot right in front of the restaurant. It was on a narrow one-way street, and the entire right side was filled with parked cars. EXCEPT, the very first spot in front of its door! We got in and put our name on the waiting list, and in about 20 minutes the hostess seated us. We enjoyed a beer and very good hamburgers, and around 9 PM we hit the road to return home. Instead of the usual 75 minutes, due to road construction on Rt 95, the trip took us two hours and some meandering to find a gas station and a better route. Thanks to Jan’s terrific sense of direction, we managed that and came home after a long but very enjoyable day.
Although not as polished as the shows we have watched on DVD, LUZIA certainly delighted the audience including me and my crew. Below are a collection of photographs that I picked to give you a sense of the circus. There are too many photographs, I know. But I thought it would be easier for the visitor to choose which ones to view based on a hint of the image on the thumbnails.
Come, enjoy Cirque du Soleil LUZIA! Watch the short trailer and then view the photographs I took during the performance.