By Tracy Wang
When the name Cirque Du Soleil pops up, people think of all the seemingly impossible acrobatics done by the many talented artists, and they are ready to be overwhelmed by what they see once again. However, ‘Volta’ brings Seattle audiences something different, a show that dazzles us with its many impossible feats as well as with its storyline that is much more relevant to our contemporary society than we thought.
‘Volta’ is loosely revolved around the character Waz (Joseph Arrigo), a gameshow contestant who looks different from everyone else with his blue feathery hair. Chased by the Greys, people who have lost touch with themselves and whose sole focus are their phones, Waz struggles to embrace his uniqueness, and dwells in his childhood memories. As he embarks on the journey to rediscover his true self, he meets the freespirit Ela who skates around and encourages Waz to accept who he really is and many other freespirits who break boundary and embrace freedom. But in a world that is divided by the Greys and the freespirits, will Waz find the way to freedom?
Tuesday’s opening night had an almost full house under the Big Top; pre-show festivities include free popcorns, alcoholic drinks and an opportunity to take photos with the artists in the show. The Big Top reveals a circular stage with the audiences almost in total darkness. Mystery, excitement and intrigue filled the tent, and the two-hour-and-fifteen-minutes show did not disappoint Cirque Du Soleil goers. The two parts of the show bring out some of the best performances from its artists, from the rope skipping that starts the show to the hair suspension acrobatics that had audiences forgetting to breathe.
But what makes ‘Volta’ into a show that is not just about these seemingly impossible feats is its storyline that is deeply relevant to this age and time. The Greys seem to be dominating the city, and all they care about are the cellphones in their hands. Selfies, social media and everything electronic occupy these people who have lost touch with the real world. However, there is another group; with colorful attires and action-based movements, the freespirits lighten up the stage, and are set as an important criticism to our current age when many seem to live their lives online.
However, the story does not end there, it follows Waz’s life and struggle as someone who is different from many others. The presence of Waz ignites the uniqueness in each and every one of us; his pain keeps probing into our conscience, and asks us the essential question: what makes different wrong or undesirable?
Though the storyline could be said to be loose at times, ‘Volta’ is clever in setting the whole show on the context of a talent contest. Each section of artists tops the previous one, and the highlight rests on the shape-diving performance, the hair suspension part and the two one-person shows done by Mr. Wow (Andrey Kislitsin). For veteran audiences who have watched Cirque Du Soleil shows for many years, they might already know the level of expertise and talents among these artists, but it is certainly refreshing every single time to witness the positive and joyable spirits of these artists who have the highest level of sportsmanship.
It is simply impossible for the artists who do all these impossible feats to get them right every single time, and sure enough, they missed a few key performance routines. However, what got the most applause is not them swaying in the air or dancing with only her hair suspending in the air, but the moments when these talented artists redo what they missed the first time. What makes the opening night a wonderful evening for all its audiences is the smiles that are always on the artists’ faces and all of them cheering for each other.
For families and people looking for a fun night out, ‘Volta’ is sure to bring laughter and joy to every audience who enjoys a night of wonder and talent.