summer theater

Cirque vs. Quirk

As famed Québécois troupe Cirque du Soleil sends in its clowns, PDX provocateurs brew "a dark fairytale."

By Anne Adams June 7, 2011


June 15-19 How does world-renowned performance troupe Cirque du Soleil balance its feng shui? Using four performers as the four elements. In Dralion, red-cloaked Shinto demon Yao represents “fire” and commands the rhythm section. Fluidly moving green-garbed Thai dancer Oceane symbolizes “water,” providing the show’s ebb and flow. Blue baroque ballerina Azala wafts overhead as “air,” and tribal goddess Gaya, in brown and rainbow hues, holds down the fort as “earth.” With a name that fuses “dragon” and “lion,” Dralion attempts to connect East with West and unite the past with the future. Lest that vision prove too grandiose, you can at least count on being spellbound by novel variations on Cirque’s consistently magical mix of acrobats, contortionists, aerialists, dancers, and clowns.

June 17-18 While Soleil explores the elements, local quirk-cirque outfit Wanderlust (as seen in Portlandia’s “Dream of the 90’s” sketch) will plumb the primordial ooze with Bogville, an immersive—and subversive—“dark fairytale” performance piece set between several stages under the sprawling big top of Refuge PDX. Narrated by the puckish Jay Lieber, and featuring the music of cello grande dame Ashia Grzesik of Vagabond Opera, Bogville promises to plunge patrons into a delightfully devious netherworld, where serpentine bellydancers, mischevious urchins, and tattooed ladies hold sway.

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