Art & Design


Cirque du Soleil’s OVO

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Meet insect. Insect is gawky and his quirkiness is often misunderstood by the rest of the colony. Meet ladybug, lover of all things quirky. Ladybug meets insect. Ladybug and hipster-fied insect fall in love. Throw in extravagant costumes and theatrical acrobatics and you have OVO, the latest Cirque du Soleil show.

However, there is much more to the colony than a quaint love story. For one, the number of people involved in the production is great, with 170 people traveling from show to show. As Lee Brearley, Cirque performer and Olympic gymnast explains, being a part of Cirque means a lifestyle overhaul. While most people are winding down for the night, the cast of Cirque is gearing up for the performance.

The show goes on for two months straight, six days of the week. This is a big commitment for the cast and crew, as the hours are long and the travel is far. To date, OVO, which premiered in April 2009, has had over 1000 shows in 20 cities. This can be taxing on the body, especially for Brearley, whose act involves sprinting and leaping up an eight metre wall. “A day you wake up without pain is the day you’re dead,” he says matter-of-factly.

The performers and artistic directors have to learn new methods of communication, as it is common for people to speak different languages. In these situations, gesturing and body movement are crucial to get over the language barrier. New vocabulary must also be learned for all the technical acrobatics, such as the coca-cola, which is a double somersault.

OVO opens at the Docklands on January 17th and will continue through March. Tickets and more information can be found at

If you find yourself under the blue and yellow big top, be sure to recall all the effort it took to create the colony.

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