Cirque du Soleil, the fantastic Canadian entertainment company, is known for its “contemporary circus” shows full of acrobatics, dance, and spectacular music. The new touring show opening at Liacouras Center in Philadelphia this week is no exception. The show, called “OVO” after the Portuguese word for “egg,” is all about the lives of insects. It is making its debut in the City of Brotherly Love, and will go on afterwards to tour the country. Artistic Director Marjon Van Grunsven calls OVO “a fantasy show for the whole family.”
The show brings the audience down to the size of the bugs, thanks to giant blades of oversized grass and a thirty-foot-tall flower. It tells the story of a community of insects, and a day in their life. It also contains a “unlikely love story” between a strange fly and a ladybug. OVO lasts for two hours and thirty minutes.
The name OVO comes from the large egg that the strange fly brings into the community. The other bugs are fascinated by it and speculate as to what could be inside of it. Interestingly, the egg never hatches – that way, the viewers watching can project their own stories onto it.
OVO was initially performed under a circus tent. With the show going on the road and being performed in large arenas, it had to be adapted somewhat for a larger setting. Van Grunsven says that the show added projection, “so it feels like you are in the Garden of Eden.” Fifty performers portray crickets, butterflies, fleas, beetles, dragonflies and spiders. The talent come from seventeen different countries.
Director Deborah Colker, who is from Brazil, brought Brazilian music and dance to the show. All the acrobats had to learn how to dance as well, she says. She describes the music as “very happy, very contemporary and very upbeat.” The band is outfitted like cockroaches. The bugs all have their own personalities, says Van Grunsven. They include “a hand-balancing dragonfly, a juggling firefly, a trio of fleas who do aerial acrobatics, and a spider who walks a slack wire.” All the performers attended a workshop on how to move like bugs.
OVO is sure to be a great time for the whole family. It plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 1:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday at the Liacouras Center at 1776 N. Broad St., Philadelphia. Tickets start at $63 and go up to $154.