Oh, My Kà: All the World in a Stage

23 03 2011

Ka-show-las-vegas-picture
Story by Dennis Hensley;
Originally published in GPS.OutTraveler.com

My big reason for going to Las Vegas earlier this month was to see Cher before she packed it in and skipped town (see my video blog here). But the big reason I’m glad I made the trip was the show I saw the next night, Cirque du Soleil’s Ka at the MGM Grand. Where Cher seemed to be phoning it, this baby gave till it hurt. At least, it looked like it hurt.

I had been told by my cab driver on my way over that, “The stage is the star of that show.” He said it kind of dismissively, as though the performers were lacking. The truth is, the stage is the star of that show. The 80,000 pound, 50 foot-long platform is a triumph of imagination and engineering and deserves star status. If it had a door, I’d put a big star on it.

This thing is so technologically innovative, versatile and OMG mind-blowing, there’s no way any performer could compete. The best one could do is hang on for dear life and let it do its thing, whether it be rotating wildly to create a ship lost at sea, tilting past 90 degrees to suggest the side of a mountain wall or sprouting rods so that acrobats can dangle, swing and in one breathtaking stunt, slide over 60 feet into the abyss/pit.

The epic story is about a pair of twins, a boy and girl, who get separated from each other when they’re kids, go through a lot of adventures and adversity and then end up happily reunited at the end. There were some amazing Cirque-esque acrobatic acts woven into the tale but the real pleasure was just basking in the professionalism and the stagecraft.

From the moment I walked into the massive auditorium, with its atmospheric web of catwalks and cages, I felt like I was in another world. Then once the show started, I just let the spectacle — violent and frightening, one moment, subtle and tender, the next — wash over me. I haven’t said “Wow,” out loud like that so much since I saw the pictures of Jessica Simpson in her mom jeans. If you get a chance to experience it, you’ll say “Wow,” too.

To learn more about Ka, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/lasvegas

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