'Amaluna' is Cirque du Soleil by way of Shakespeare

With “Amaluna,” Diane Paulus has a refreshing take on the glitz-filled extravaganzas that makes it feel more like a show than an elite-level athletic event.

A scene from Amaluna. Credit: Cirque du Soleil This may not have been in Shakespeare's original version of "The Tempest," but it makes a good addition.
Credit: Cirque du Soleil

 

Once you’ve figured out the formulaic nature of Cirque du Soleil productions, they all seem to be pretty much the same. Until now.

 

With “Amaluna,” Diane Paulus, (the woman who single-handedly transformed the A.R.T. into one of the hottest theaters in the country), has a refreshing take on the glitz-filled extravaganzas that makes it feel more like a show than an elite-level athletic event.

 

Paulus dispenses with the typically grandiose, nonsensical storylines of prior Cirque productions, opting instead for a loosely-framed adaptation of “The Tempest” that engages the audience in a new level of intimacy. Another big twist is the female-centric storyline and the fact that at least 70 percent of the performance troupe is women.

 

Prospero has become Prospera in Paulus’ adaptation and the focus is the coming of age of her daughter Miranda. All lives change when a shipwreck (courtesy of Propera’s magical powers) lands a boatload of handsome young men on the island just in time for her foray into womanhood.

Sexual tension, jealously, an overprotective mother and an unrequited crush collide as aerialists, tumblers, jugglers, and acrobats perform extraordinary feats of athleticism set to the strains of an outstanding all-female rock band.

Even the Clowns have a sweet, simple story that’s easy to follow and silly enough to keep them entertaining without overdoing it.

Fans of Cirque du Soleil will find plenty to love about “Amaluna.” The Balance Goddess (Lili Chao) delivers an astonishing, edge-of-your-seat moment when she assembles an enormous structure crafted out of palm fronds with her feet. Iuliia Mykhailova’s amazing contortions as Miranda and Evgeny Kurkin’s (her prince) performance on the Chinese Pole are equally breathtaking.

While soaring atop the Grand Chapiteau is always a spectacle, it’s more than just acrobatics when you’re watching characters, not athletes, making this magic.

If you go
“Amaluna”
Through July 6th
Boston Marine Industrial Park
$35 - $140
1-800-450-1480
www.cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna

 
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