Local Photo Credit: Kooza

Send in the Clowns (Maybe?)

An extended run means Cirque Du Soleil’s Kooza could be the perfect outing for the Holiday Season. Just beware of the clowns.

Let me say this, just for context.

I hate the circus. I went when I was 10. A clown took my father’s hat. There was a stranger beside him, a lady with very long hair. The clown grabbed her hair and put it on my dad’s bald head and put the hat back. The crowd laughed. I sat paralyzed with embarrassment.

That night, there were trained seals, high wire acts and strong men. I only know this because there is photographic evidence. In truth, I only remember the abusive clown.

Decades later, I’m a father of two and my kids are harassing me to take them to Cirque Du Soleil’s Kooza. The show’s run has been extended by two weeks to December 27. Long enough for me to run out of excuses.

Charivari_Trickster-web
The Trickster. I see a jokester with talent here.

We all know Cirque Du Soleil is not really a circus—it’s more like an adrenaline filled, hyper-stimulating, Technicolor dream sequence…with clowns. But, soon after the show begins I’m mesmerized. Kooza is something special. Among the highlights, a rock-steady performer stacks chairs to the roof and balances on one hand, and a unicycle routine where the strong man impossibly lifts and twists his female companion. The wheel of death alone is worth the price of admission as two dare devils engage in a duel of risky stunts balancing, jumping and even skipping rope on a giant suspended wheel. It’s raw, visceral and totally mind-blowing.

The Wheel of Death. Not for amateurs.
The Wheel of Death. Not for amateurs.

It made me almost forget about the clowns. It isn’t long before a trio of them charge through the crowd in search of a victim. My daughter buries her frightened face in my wife’s lap. I lean into a conversation with my son hoping to avoid their gaze. It works. A lady just a few seats over is pulled, in spite of great resistance, onto the stage. She’s subjected to a wide variety of clown abuse including physical touching, dry humping and other humiliating acts. I’m left feeling deep relief at the narrow escape and turn and prepare to be amazed by the next death defying stunt.

You can enjoy the production right through December 27 with matinee shows Thursday to Sundays. Seriously though, watch out for the clowns.

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