Bring back the circus tent

IT’S different. What else can I say?

Saltimbanco's Baroques

As soon as the announcement was made late last year that Saltimbanco was coming to town, I vowed to catch this show and add it to the Cirque du Soliel list of shows I’ve seen. My excitement must have been infectious that I was able to convince my clique to fly all the way to Manila to catch oldest major touring show of the company with me. The discounts, the airline and show ticket, sweetened the invite and sealed the deal.

When the show ticket went on sale, I grabbed “the best seats” in the house for the group, the same spot in the big tent I caught Varekai in. This time, however, the act will at the Arena at the Mall of Asia complex. Yes, it’s in a stadium and not the Grand Chapiteau, the touring show’s “habitat”. Would it be as exciting in a new venue? I will find out. I haven’t been inside the Arena but based on the emailed seat layout, I presumed that the seating arrangement and proximity to the stage would be the same as in the big tent.

The day came. Giddy with excitement. Arrived at the Arena. I was lead to my seat.

Toink! Major bummer!

The main act is a mere background from this seat. Bring back the tent please!

My view was obstructed with a glass pane and the production’s camera recorder. No only that, the “nice seat” was a good ten meters farther from the stage compared to the tent set-up. I crashed back to earth…. with a major major thud.

My good friend from the inside came to the rescue and gave me and another friend an upgrade. We were moved to the lower boxes with a 45-degree view of the stage. Well, it’s better than an obstructed view. In this venue, I can’t have it all.

The upgraded seat.
From blocked front view to side view. I guess I can't have it all in this venue.

I am not saying I didn’t enjoy the show. Saltimbanco (from the Italian "saltare in banco", which literally translates "to jump on a bench,”) was nice act and delivered it’s promise of taking me to “a journey into the heart of the city and explore the urban experience in all its myriad forms” through a mix of traditional and modern breathtaking circus acts—

Adagio Trio

 Chinese poles (an act with 26 performers using four 25-foot-tall (7.6 m) poles

Balancing on Canes

Boleadoras (two performers twirl boleadoras in this unique act created by Cirque du Soleil. The bolas are a percussion instrument, which is hit against the ground to produce a loud popping sound)

Russian swing; Solo Trapeze...

and the Bungee….
all viewed at a 45 degree angle. 
No fun.

The popcorns and sodas where there, the colorful costumes, the funny clown act and the thrilling stunts.  But for me, the whole circus vibe was absent. It didn’t help that the seat I fought for didn’t offer the same view and distance from the stage as it would in the Grand Chapiteau.

Eddy & his clown act.

Should there be another Cirque du Soleil show in Manila, I will definitely watch it…only if it’s in the tent.

Where Saltimbanco should have been shown- the Grand Chapiteau.