Cirque Eloize’s ‘Cirkopolis’ comes to the Merriam

Cirque Eloize brings its mix of acrobatics, dance and theater to the Merriam this week.  Credit: Valerie Remise
Cirque Eloize brings its mix of acrobatics, dance and theater to the Merriam this week.
Credit: Valerie Remise

In an era where many circus stage shows seem to blindly swing for the faster, higher and bigger, the Montreal-based Cirque Eloize is slowing things down a bit.

The group’s new show, “Cirkopolis,” drew rave reviews when it was recently staged in New York City. “There are much bigger shows than ‘Cirkopolis,’” swooned the New York Times. “But I’d bet there aren’t more beautiful ones.”

“What we try to do is find the right balance between the spectacular and the sensitive,” says Cirque Eloize founder Jeannot Painchaud on the phone from Montreal. “I’m always looking for something that can touch people and move people and make them think. I’m going to their soul and heart and I’m searching for that balance.”

Be it on a high-wire — or not.

Cirque Eloize, whose shows include the Broadway-hit “Rain,” comes back to town with “Cirkopolis” Tuesday through Sunday at the Merriam Theater. Three performances of the Philly run, Tuesday, Wednesday and a late show on Sunday, were cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances,” according to a statement from a theater rep. Ticket holders for the three performances can exchange their tickets for any of the remaining performances or they will automatically receive a refund on their credit card.

As for what’s on stage, Painchaud, along with co-director Dave St-Pierre, looked to the Fritz Lang dystopian silent film classic “Metropolis” for inspiration.

“This fella is an office worker [in ‘Cirkopolis’] and he starts to dream about a life that is closer to who he is,” Painchaud says. “For me, he’s going to contaminate the city with his poetry.”

A serious concept at its base but not an overly serious presentation.

“He slowly wakes up the people around him and very quickly the show becomes funny and very light,” Painchaud says. “Maybe it looks like a dark show but it’s not a dark show at all. It’s just the visual context and then everything starts to be touching and that’s the key.”

Cirque Eloize’s “Cirkopolis”
March 11-16
Merriam Theater
250 S. Broad St.
$25-$75, 215-893-1999


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