Photos – Cirque du Soleil’s Totem
– story by Shawn Conner/photos by Jess Desaulniers-Lea
Vancouver photographer Jess Desaulniers-Lea outdid herself with these fabulous photos, taken at a special preview performance of Totem. The four-year-old Cirque du Soleil show rolled into Vancouver this week, and will run under the Grand Chapiteau at Concord Pacific Place until July 6 (although Cirque shows are usually held over).
The two-hour show was written and directed by Robert Lepage, the toast of Quebec’s theatre scene, and purports to tell the story of human evolution. Its 11 acts include juggling, balancing, acrobatics, gymnastics, some dancing and some clowning. There’s music, some pretty cool sets – including a “scorpion” bridge, i.e. a bridge that extends piece by piece like a scorpion’s tale – some so-so music and some truly great costumes designed by Kym Barrett. Barrett drew from a variety of sources, including Mayan imagery and, if I’m not mistaken, even steampunk (for the unicyclists’ garb – see image). And I also thought I saw some outfits that looked a little like DC Comics’ Swamp Thing in the opening scene.
Though there were some acts that failed to thrill, for the most part Totem is a success, showing us some new tricks from Cirque du Soleil’s grab-bag. Even the clowning, which can sometimes be annoying, was spot-on.
More photos from Totem: