Find Your Free: Are you Volta-worthy?
I’ll be the first to admit that I found it extremely difficult to motivate myself to write a review of Cirque du Soleil’s new show ‘Volta’. If I were to write a typical sort of review, it would probably involve me going on about how…”the show’s retro-vintage 80s feel brought back warm feelings of nostalgia”...how…”the BMX bike stunts made my heart feel like it was going to jump out of my chest”...and then I would probably conclude the review with something like…”the show’s focus on extreme sports conveyed how the magical moments often associated with Cirque du Soleil’s more traditional circus performers can extend beyond the circus ring.”
My review of the show, however, is just one review determined by my own experience and my own preconceptions of it. I am guessing that you likely came across this review in a bid to decide whether to see the show. Who am I to say you would enjoy the show as much as I did? I’ve written about other Cirque du Soleil shows such as Toruk and Luzia. Some agreed with my reviews whereas others not so much. I am not going to tell you why you should see Volta, or why you shouldn’t. Instead, I am going to tell you how you should go about deciding. Before I do, I need to get something out of the way first.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt and let me tell you why - I am a blogger who obtained complimentary passes and countless passes to other Cirque du Soleil shows in exchange for coverage and reviews. Already, you can be assured my thoughts of Cirque du Soleil shows will be partially influenced by my existing relationship with the organization and by my previous experiences with them. Point-in-fact, I do not review shows or attractions which I am already not interested in to begin with. More often than not, the amount of time it takes to write a feature, and then to spread the word about it, far surpasses the financial worth of the complementary passes I receive. Thus, I choose the events or shows that I write about wisely. I love Cirque du Soleil and for that reason I continue to provide coverage of their shows. So, yes, I will be biased. This fact is why I am not going to provide you a gushing review of Volta. I am going to try a little exercise with you instead.
I will outline a few key phrases, you note what first comes to mind when reading them, and then you can decide if Volta is the show for you.
So, let’s start...empty your mind...focus...and go.
The 80s. Do the 80s incite welcome feelings of nostalgia or does the thought of those God-awful outfits in the 80s make you cringe? Not everyone is a fan of 80s style music. My husband, in particular, belonged to the grunge rocker clique back in those days (or so I’ve been told more than a few times). He abhorred the 80s pop songs which played constantly on the radio. Volta has a distinctly 80s feel to it. Music written by M83 gives the 80s musical theme a contemporary edge. If you absolutely detested the 80s and everything it stood for, you may not be as appreciative of the costumes, music, and of the overall atmosphere of the show. I’m not saying, however, that you won’t be able to get past it. My husband still enjoyed the show despite his dislike for the 80s. I just want you to be prepared that Volta makes you feel like you stepped into a time machine which blasts you back into the future - a future which you might have envisioned the future to look like back in the 80s that is.
Philip K. Dick. Where the nerds at? If you have an appreciation for Philip K. Dick, upon watching the show, you will quickly note the Philip K. Dick-ish feel Volta’s dystopic future world connotes. For those of you whose name Philip K. Dick doesn’t ring a bell at all, think ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’. Still nothing? Ok, think the Total Recall film - the one with Arnold. What about Blade Runner, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly? All Philip K. Dick stories. Google them if you have to. Got it? There you have it, lesson accomplished. Dick aka Volta 101. Between the 80s feel, and the post-apocalyptic ‘a-la Philip K. Dick’ themes of a technologically deterministic future, the show brings about nostalgic albeit dystopic warm ‘feels’ all around.
Extreme Sports. Yaaa or meh? If the thought of extreme sports excite you or if they get your adrenaline going, and you have never been to a Cirque du Soleil show before, Volta may just be the perfect introduction to a Cirque du Soleil show for you. If you are impartial to extreme sports but a Cirque du Soleil fan, or you have heard numerous great things about Cirque du Soleil shows so you want to check the new show Volta out, you may have some expectations which may get in the way of you fully embracing Volta. In fact, you need to suspend any expectations you may have based on previous viewings or based on any reviews written about other past Cirque shows. Each of Cirque du Soleil’s shows differ from each other in theme, plot, performance, costuming, lighting, props, etc. that it is counterproductive to compare one to the other - and yet it happens; we still do. Some complain when a particular Cirque du Soleil show is not like another show and then complain when a show does not bring anything new to the table. It is like comparing apples to oranges and then complaining that they are either too similar, too different, or not similar or different enough. Before you watch Volta or any Cirque du Soleil show for that matter, try not to have expectations. It’s been written by various psychologists time and time again that expectations can be detrimental to one’s relationships and ultimately one’s happiness - the same can be stated for one’s viewing pleasure of a Cirque du Soleil show.
Magic. Does an internal sort of magic come to mind, or are you thinking of magic as something external to you? If you think magic exists outside of you and have come to expect anything magical as separate from you, any appreciation you may have for the magic which happens on a Cirque du Soleil show will likely not come into complete fruition. The beauty of any Cirque du Soleil performance lies in the performers’ ongoing relationships with each other and with that of an engaged audience . The magic doesn’t quite happen without the intermingling of energies and emotions of all the members in the Big Top. You cannot be a disengaged spectator at a Cirque du Soleil show and expect to sit back and be entertained. I mean no one’s stopping you, but if you approach the show with that particular frame of mind, you will not be able to experience Volta or any other Cirque show to their full glorious extent.
If you are still undecided or on the fence about seeing the show, I suggest you check out some of the individual performers’ videos and pages. It will not only give you an idea why they, out of thousands or hundreds of other folks who auditioned, were selected to be part of Volta; it will also give you an inkling of what to expect. After all, these performers were selected for a reason and you should really find out what that reason is for yourself. Performers of Volta worth mentioning and creeping are Takahiro Ikeda, Danila Bim, and the BMX stunt riders.
Now that I have laid out some key themes of Cirque du Soleil’s Volta, I anticipate you are better prepared to make a decision as to whether the show is right for you. Let me know what you end up deciding and do share with me your thoughts about Volta. If you just want to reminisce about the magic of the 80s and the many memories the show brought back for you, we can do that too.
For more info on Volta
Volta on Facebook