Greg and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage this month. We asked my parents, in Massachusetts, to watch our kids for a few days so we could have a weekend getaway in Las Vegas. We've both been to Vegas several times before... The first time was when I was 18 and Greg was 23 (1994). We had just started dating, and he surprised me with a trip to the winter juggling festival, which used to happen here every year around New Year's. It was an unforgettable trip. Greg's friend Pat McGuire had just started working for Cirque du Soleil's Mystere, and he let us stay a night at his apartment and tour backstage at the theater.
Life brought us back to Vegas now and then. My sister got married here in 2003, giving us a great opportunity to see more hotels and shows. That year it was Zumanity and O. While Zumanity took its spot as the only Cirque du Soleil show I've ever disliked, O rocked my world. I remember leaving the theater that night speechless, awed, and touched by a profound force.
In the intervening years, I have devoted my life to circus. I have learned about myself... That I don't have the drive or talent to make a career as a performer, but that my love for circus can manifest itself in other ways. And most recently, I have begun my own role with Cirque du Soleil - as a wife and caretaker, but still a part of this massive, extraordinary family.
The years have also shaped me as an audience member. I am a much more sophisticated and discerning critic than I used to be. I've seen so many, many shows. From Kooza, Varekai, Dralion, Ka, and Quidam, to Le Reve, Birdhouse Factory, Cirque Eloize, and every imaginable Fringe show, small-theater event, corporate event or traditional circus that ever comes within reach. I've been in the audience, I've been backstage, and I've been onstage.
So my trip to Vegas this week included two major shows - Love, and O. Greg and I both wanted to see something new, but also come back to the show we loved so much 7 years ago. We were not disappointed.
Love, Cirque's tribute to the Beatles, is everything we were told - a marvelous joyride and a creative success. Although we both wished there was more circus in the show, their priority was clearly to celebrate the Beatles' music. What's not to love? Our favorite piece was "Something in the Way She Moves", gorgeous with four girls in harnesses and a male acrobat on the ground.
Then there was O. I was afraid that this intervening time would have made the show less magical, or made me more cynical. But such was not the case. From the moment the red curtains flew from the stage, to the final, elegant disappearance of the piano below the water, O had my heart and soul in its grasp. Greg and I both feel that O is the best show Cirque has ever done; and by extension, the best show we have ever seen. It is simply exquisite. And as it came to an end, I found myself crying inside, no! please don't be over! And walking out of the theater again felt like my world had shifted.
How beautiful to re-discover that passion.
In between these experiences, there was Las Vegas. We stayed at the Luxor, on the 24th floor of the pyramid. This photo is the view from outside our room, looking down.
We walked the Strip, watched the fountain show at the Bellagio and shopped at the Forum at Caesar's Palace. We spent our last afternoon sitting poolside with some friends, Alan and Kate Howard. Alan is a professional juggler, and Kate is a scuba-dive technician with Le Reve. Lots of great stories!
We didn't gamble so much as a nickel, but Las Vegas still finds a way to let money run through your fingers like water. I found myself weary of the culture of it... the acceptance - no, the expectation - of bad behavior. Everyone has permission to be drunk, obnoxious, scantily clad, and materialistic, at all hours of the day. I think, the next time we consider a weekend getaway, I need to find something a little more wholesome. ...but as an escape, it was what we needed!