The sleet hit my face, dabbing my winter coat with a zillion tiny wet spots, as soon as I stepped out of the underground station at Theresienwiese. The tent was white, rather tall and easy to identify. The only one there, this time of the year. I located the entrance and made my way around and sometimes through the puddles that were beginning to form on the asphalt. If I was walking fast, it was because of the cold. I had no idea what time it was. I don’t wear a watch and my smart phone was turned off, in my purse, because it was Sunday. I didn’t see any crowds. If anything, I thought I was too early.
So when I entered and the lady at door 3 kind of blocked my path and said, ‘they are having a dark phase now, a phase where it has to be dark, please, you need to wait 5 minutes’, I smiled, completely relaxed. I loitered around their lobby and checked my e-mails as men and women were sweeping the floor. Not once did I check the time. I didn’t buy any popcorn. Not for this kind of show. Other people came. A few were still buying tickets. I heard devilish shrieks from inside, music and drums, yet suspected nothing. They’re probably still rehearsing, I thought.
And then I was allowed to walk to door 3. Climb the stairs. A thick, dark curtain slit open for a second, with a young lady in black clothes beckoning me inside, through the darkness. And suddenly, there I was. Explosion! Of sound, of light, of color. Things were happening on the stage that I never would have imagined. Contorted bodies in refined, glittering fabrics, throbbing and moving to the mesmerizing music of mermaids. It was surreal. I had entered a dream. People, lots of them, sitting down, wide-eyed in the dark, and me, standing alone in the aisle, close to the stage, still not figuring out what had happened. I slide into my seat and think to myself this was intended. They do this for their guests, to add to the mystery. They let you in at different stages, depending on how expensive your ticket was. To confuse you. To shake you. To sweep you off your feet and take you on their journey.
Kooza, Cirque du Soleil’s latest tent production, is an exuberant journey where you will see flying men on stilts, bikes on a tight rope and acrobats with wild manes. Where blood-curdling fiends stare death in the face and 1001 oriental fantasies lash your senses, all exquisitely choreographed, to a background lyrical story. Where time and reality are suspended, where kings turn to fools and fools are crowned kings, where fairy tales exist for grown-ups too, and where the child inside you just received a new pair of wings.
It was only after I settled into my seat that I furtively opened my purse and glanced at my phone. It was a quarter past 5. I had arrived late…
Kooza by Cirque du Soleil – and the magic lives!
PS. If you have a serious heart condition, or if you don’t want to be dragged on stage as a volunteer by two shamelessly horny clowns ;-), I suggest buying a ticket further back. Some of the acrobatic performances are really scary – and they sure know how to add drama and glamour to them. But if you don’t mind your palms getting sweaty at times only to experience the artists’ sweat-laden breath upon you as they tumble through the air, as they twitch and bend and twirl, then the first five rows next to the stage are great for that extra closeness and intensity. I was in row E, central area, and I loved it! In Munich, where Kooza is currently touring until March 2nd, tickets are still available (either through eventim.de or directly on cirquedusoleil.com, or even at the Abendkasse, if you’re lucky). However, these are dispersed tickets, you won’t find two next to each other. Prices around €80 – 90 apiece. Well worth it. Great gift idea.