Alt title: Cirque du Ican’tbelievehesatstillthewholetime
My hope is that some other parent who is out there googling cirque with toddler or ovo take my 2-year-old? will come across this post and get half price tickets and some courage.
There wasn’t much info for me on the internet when we were trying to decide. Could a young 2-year-old sit through a two hour show with a half hour intermission? Would the darkness, the stage lights, the loud music, the smoke machines, scare him?
This is what I knew: Ovo is a show about bugs, starring a Ladybug and an Egg. A LADYBUG. And a GIANT EGG.
Come on, people. How could we not give it a try?
As previously mentioned in this space, we took the least possible financial risk, scoring half-price tickets from Goldstar for a matinee show in the cheapest section. We considered pretending Jonah was under 2, and thus taking him for free, but in retrospect, we were glad we’d gotten three tickets; him having his own seat was worth the extra dough.
Our seats were in the last row of the far corner of the circus tent. An usher gave us the most wonderful booster attachment that raised Jonah to the perfect viewing height. Possibly the best part about our seats is that we were right next to the cucarracha-costume-clad orchestra, which featured a bebopping bouncy violin player. VIOLIN PLAYER! Yes.
Jonah sat utterly and completely still the entire first hour, hands in his lap, eyes traveling from the action on the stage, to the musicians, and back. Personally, I thought the costumes could have been more bug-like, but Jonah had no problem identifying the ladybug. Some others, he’d ask and we’d guess. They’re rather avant-garde.
There was a giant furry flower hanging from the ceiling that Jonah decided was a lion and no amount of argument from us would convince him otherwise.
Occasionally he would ask where the ladybug or the egg went, when those items/creatures were not onstage.
At intermission, we asked him if he wanted to go home or stay. Definitely stay. He was, again, remarkably still and rapt through the entire second half. I wondered what all the contortioning and flying around and high wiring and trampoline bouncing seemed like to him. He doesn’t have the context to know that these are unusual behaviors for human bodies, does he? Didn’t matter. He liked it.
With about 15 minutes to go in the second half, he started to get squirmy, crawling around on me, on the chair. Turned out what he really wanted to do was bum rush the stage and GET AT THAT LADYBUG, which I discovered as soon as he got himself down the stairs — we were trying to leave during the finale, figuring his patience had gone thin. He slithered out of my grasp and took off; but I caught him around the waist, his arms and legs pinwheeling “Laydeeeee BUGGG!!!” he cried.
The actors gave their bows and exited the stage. Jonah was desolate. Where did she go? Would she be coming back? “We should see the show again!” he declared.
We bought the book on the way out, definitely a worthwhile purchase. He LOVES paging through it and talking about how the grasshoppers bounced off the wall. It’s nice for us to know now that those yellow/red people were fleas, and anybody with fur on their legs was a spider.
I’d consider going again. It might be fun to get seats a little closer to the stage and more towards the center. The costumes were much more exciting close up. The back row may have helped it be a less overwhelming experience for Jonah though. A pole did obstruct our view slightly through a couple of acts but nothing too terrible. I personally could have completely done without the (seemingly obligatory — this is my fourth Cirque show) overlong clowning segment with audience participation in the late-middle of the show.
Otherwise, two enthusiastic toddler and parent thumbs up!