This past weekend we saw Cirque du Soleil’s touring show Dralion at Atlantic City’s historic Boardwalk Hall.
I think this was fourth Cirque performance I’ve seen (though third show, as I’ve seen Walt Disney World’s twice), and it had all the Cirque trademarks I’ve come to expect. There’s the hallucinogenic storyline, East meets West via acrobats, giant puppets, dream creatures and clowns you wouldn’t want to meet on the proverbial dark alley. Perhaps careful study of the tour guide and/or repeated viewings would make this clearer, but I’m content that the tale is a convenient inspiration for performances and costumes.
I absolutely love Cirque’s instance on having the music performed live, as well as the way they have performers roll on and off the props. Cirque started off as a street show in Quebec and there’s a lot of that diy anarchic spirit that has held on despite the million-dollar revenues.
The touring shows have simple setups that can fit sideways into standard basketball auditoriums. It works, but it’s nothing like the custom spaces, like the one in Walt Disney World. Still, out was nice to have a local taste of Cirque that fit the budget of a special date (this show doubled as our eleventh wedding anniversary).
Leaving the show we followed the temptation to walk the boardwalk, to utter disappointment. Atlantic City’s oceanfront is dominated by block-long casino entrances that long ago replaced the array of small shops you see elsewhere. Artistry is completely absent, with Cirque’s live music in stark contrast to the overpowered sound systems throwing generic dance music out from the edges of the walk. After a block we turned around and headed inland to Absecon’s Mount Fuji for a post-show dinner. Poor Atlantic City.
Here’s the trailer for Cirque’s Dralion: