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Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana at Radio City Music Hall.

- Erik

This past weekend I saw Cirque du Soleil’s latest installment Zarkana. The show is set in an abandoned hotel and follows its residents on a beautiful and hair-raising journey. The entire story is narrated by a ringmaster dressed in red whose outfit is more suited to that of a matador. The entire time the ringmaster is singing of his lost love, which frankly got very old after a while. Despite the lacking story and vocals, the outrageous physical feats pick up the slack.

The array of stunts preformed in Zarkana demonstrates just what the human body is capable of. The performers’ strength and perception is made evident by the difficulty of the stunts. One of the acts I was most impressed by was two men balancing a piece of plastic about the size of a 2×4 on their shoulder and from it, launching a woman up 10 to 12 feet in the air. After performing a myriad of flips and twists the woman would preceed to land back on the platform without any hesitation.

Also, of all the circuses I have been to, the trapeze section in this show was by far the most impressive. Due to Cirque du Soleil’s surplus of money and high salaries they tend to attract some of the more talented people in the industry. The amount of trust and perfect timing required to execute some of these maneuvers is dumbfounding. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think that the person performing his stunt has to have the utmost faith in his partner’s ability to release the other trapeze bar on time. Failure to do this will result in a fall from a very uncomfortable height. Despite the underwhelming musical aspect of the show, I highly recommend seeing Zarkana.

I would not recommend taking a very young child to this show due to its slightly creepy nature. The costumes and feel of the show was a little dark and slightly scary and could be off-putting to someone very young. When I was about four years old, my mom took me to see Cirque du Soleil which I didn’t not handle very well. To a younger audience, the trademark Cirque du Soleil clowns can come off as scary and not funny. When I saw the Cirque show when I was four years old, I was, in fact, so terrified by them that I made my mom take me home! However, don’t let this deter you — just make sure you bring a group of mature children if you plan on going (although there was a three-month old baby in front of us who slept through the whole thing)!

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