The well-anticipated Eastside tradition finally set up its tent in Redmond’s Marymoor Park earlier this month. Cirque du Soleil has left audiences awestruck with its impressive acrobatics, dazzling costumes and poetic storytelling since its debut in the early 1980s.
This year, Cirque du Soleil premiered its new show, “VOLTA,” under the big top at Marymoor Park. Written and directed by Bastien Alexandre and with Jean Guibert as the director of creation, “VOLTA” tells a story of transformation, being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential and the power of the group to make that possible.
It celebrates freedom as a movement.
Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports, the show weaves the adrenaline rush of acrobatics, BMX biking and double dutch rope.
Michael Smith, the arts director for “VOLTA,” said this is the first show to incorporate action sports and electronic music.
“We really wanted to capture what’s represented in the world today,” Smith said. “It’s wonderful to find new ways to look at a universal theme and give [strength] to things that may not be well represented in culture.”
The story follows the character Waz, a contestant on the fictional “Mr. Wow Show.” Mr. Wow, the lead judge, has the power to make someone into a star or turn them into dust. Waz is in search of love and acceptance and he believes the only way to achieve it is through fame.
But Waz has a secret. He has blue feathers for hair. When his secret is revealed live on the “Mr. Wow Show,” he runs away in shame. Since childhood, he had hopes and dreams for the future but now only desires to blend in with everyone else — the Greys — who are unhappy and live their routine lives through their smartphone.
It doesn’t take Waz long to understand that it’s not fame he needs but freedom to be his true self. The Free Spirits, who are colorful, happy beings, show Waz the way to self-love and self-acceptance.
Joey Arrigo, who plays the part of Waz, has been with Cirque du Soleil for three years. This has been his dream since his early childhood. Beyond the extreme physical training for his performance, he said he underwent emotional training for the role as well.
“Waz goes through this journey of emotions and shows us that we are all on this journey to loving ourselves and accepting who we are,” he said. “Going on someone else’s journey while I’m going on my own journey proved to be [challenging] but wonderful.”
The story of Waz is one everyone can relate to, according to Arrigo.
“Loving yourself is an everyday battle and it’s up to us where we take ourselves,” he said.
Aside from the focal storyline, a few highlights from the show include:A man twisting and turning through the air as he held onto a suspending lamp.
A routine featuring a building sandwiched between trampolines allowing acrobats to climb and dive off the building.
A woman performing an intricate aerial routine suspended only by her hair.
Acrobats tumbling and diving through stacked hoops head first or feet first.
A BMX jump park featuring acrobats performing tricks in midair and at incredible speed.
“VOLTA” will be presented at Under the Big Top in Marymoor Park through Nov. 4. Tickets can be purchased at www.cirquedusoleil.com/volta.
For more information about the show, visit https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/.