Cirque du Soleil Quidam Review at Temple – Stunning Stunts

This was our first opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil in person. Of course, we had previously seen the short performances, that are ubiquitous in popular culture. But nothing fully prepares you to see an entire performance by these world-class performers and acrobats, live.

Cirque du Soleil is extraordinarily popular, worldwide. In 2011, Cirque du Soleil is performing no fewer than 22 different shows from its repertoire, around the globe.

Of course, Cirque du Soleil is one of the best known brands in the entertainment world. Since its 1984 founding, over 100 million people have attended a performance, on six continents.

But it’s not just hype. We had never seen one previously, and we were blown away by the talent, the theatricality and the artistry. In summary, we would strongly recommend that you see Cirque du Soleil Quidam.

Aside from the incredible talent and stunts, it has the advantage of being able to transcend language barriers. There’s no dialogue in the show, and you don’t need to follow the story line. It’s universal, in both appeal and scope. (Of course, the storyline exists, and we read it, prior to attending. But it’s certainly not necessary for you to know the storyline, in order to thoroughly enjoy any Cirque du Soleil production.)

We had the good fortune of reviewing the Cirque du Soleil production of Quidam, on Thursday, November 10, at the Liacouras Center, on the campus of Temple University in North Philadelphia.

Cirque du Soleil Quidam Review at Temple – What Do the Titles Quidam and Cirque du Soleil Mean in English?

We really liked the name Quidam, because it is a Latin word. And we studied Latin for four years, at our beloved alma mater, St. Joseph’s Prep, which is also located in North Philadelphia, just a couple of subway stops away on the Broad Street Line.

The best way to translate Quidam into English is as “someone”, “somebody”. But not in the sense of "somebody you know". In contrast, Quidam means "somebody" in the sense of being anonymous: Quidam is the man/woman on the street, “just some guy”, an unknown figure, a faceless person in the crowded, densely populated, urban society in which we live.

Cirque du Soleil selected the word Quidam as its title, as the artistic theme behind the show is that we are all Quidam, just anonymous people, but that individuality, a meaningful life, and worthwhile experiences are all contained within each of us.

Another understandable question is “how do you pronounce Quidam? According to the official media guide, it is pronounced “Key-dahm”.

As for Cirque du Soleil itself – it is it is pronounced “Sirk doo Soe-lay”. In French (which we also studied for three years at the Prep, the aforementioned nearby institution), it means “Circus of the Sun”.

Cirque du Soleil Quidam Review at Temple – What Is Quidam About? The Story

Officially, Quidam’s subtitle is: A young girl's escape into a world of imagination. A girl, Zoe, is bored and neglected by her parents, and in a state of existential angst. She encounters Quidam, who introduces her to the magical world of the circus, giving meaning to her life and unique experiences to enliven her humdrum, day-to-day existence.

That’s the gist of the story. However, as mentioned above, one of the most intriguing aspects of seeing Cirque du Soleil Quidam is the fact that you don’t have to follow a story at all.

Instead, you can just sit back in your seat, and be dazzled and amazed by the courage, athleticism, agility, and skills of these entertainers, each of whom undoubtedly has been training for years (or decades) to perform these feats on stage. (You often wonder, "How long would it take an ordinary person to learn how to do that?")

Fundamentally, the show is about the incredible talents of the acrobats, and the comedy of the performers.

That's right - comedy. Generally, we had never previously associated Cirque du Soleil with comedy; they were talented acrobats and performers, but not hilarious-laughter inducers. But that isn't the case with Cirque du Soleil Quidam. There are two segments with a mime, which had the audience laughing considerably. The only part we'll give away is that there is substantial audience participation in the comedy sequences, one in each act.

One important tip when going to see Cirque du Soleil Quidam at Temple – get there early!

Many theatrical performances start a few minutes late, to accommodate the audience. This was not at all the case.

It was announced as 7:30 PM, and it started exactly at 7:30 PM. The audience receives a great deal of entertainment – a 2 hour and 25 minute show, including a 25 minute intermission, so that might be why it starts exactly on time. (We liked the long intermission, as it gave us plenty of time to explore the concourse.)

In addition, you'll need to give yourself extra time, to make your way from the protected parking lot to the venue itself, especially if you’re not familiar with attending events at the Liacouras Center.

Is Cirque du Soleil Quidam Suitable Family Entertainment?

It is. (Some of the comedy with the mime is PG, but that’s it.) There are loud noises that often go off without warning, and also, the music can be eerie and ethereal. (It seemed particularly fitting, to see Cirque du Soleil Quidam during early November, when the spirit of Halloween remains in the air, with the shortening days and falling leaves.)

One understandable concern may be the masks of the performers. If you go online to the official Cirque du Soleil Quidam site, and look at the characters, some of them look sinister. However, having now directly experienced Cirque du Soleil Quidam live, I can state categorically that the masks are not bothersome. It’s not like a movie, where they appear right in your face. You’re sufficiently far away from the stage – even in the closest seats to the action – that you can’t even really tell the features, very easily. They just look like characters in circus makeup. (Some don’t even have makeup and/or masks, at all.)

Of course, if your child is sensitive to any of these concerns, the masks and makeup are something for you to consider. Naturally, be sure to act in the best interests of your child, while making your decision, as to whether to attend the performance.

Cirque du Soleil Quidam Review at Temple – Tickets and Performances

Unfortunately, Cirque du Soleil Quidam is only playing at the Liacouras Center, for a brief engagement, from Thursday, November 10 – the review you’ve just read – through Sunday, November 13. Fortunately, there are two performances on all three remaining days.

Friday, November 11, 2011 – 3:30 PM and 7:30 PM

Saturday, November 12, 2011 – 3:30 PM and 7:30 PM

Sunday, November 13, 2011 – 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM

Cirque du Soleil Quidam Review at Temple – Is It Safe to Attend Performances at the Liacouras Center?

Your concern for safety in the rough North Philadelphia neighborhood which surrounds Temple is completely justified. And as with any urban environment, we would strongly urge you to be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.

That having been said, Temple has done everything possible, to ensure the safety of its patrons, while at the Liacouras Center. There is an illuminated, immense, multi-tiered parking lot, directly adjacent to the venue. Moreover, the parking lot is connected to the venue by a covered, indoor bridge, so you don’t even have to go outside, to get from your car to the venue and back. The parking fee is a flat $14 and worth every penny.

Don’t even consider, under any circumstances, trying to park on the street, to save money. It’s not worth the risk, time, or hassle.

Cirque du Soleil Quidam Review at Temple – the Liacouras Center Is a Great Venue, At Which to Attend a Performance

The Liacouras Center, primarily used as the home for Temple Owls men’s and women’s basketball, is a beautiful, state-of-the-art venue. It opened in December 1997 to great acclaim. The concourse is very wide and has plenty of restrooms. The seats are very comfortable. The sightlines are superb. It also has a broad selection of concessions, ranging from cheese steaks to funnel cake to ice cream.

We spoke with a staff member, who explained that the only two venues in the entire Philadelphia region, where Cirque du Soleil can even consider performing, are the Liacouras Center, and the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. The reason – those are the only two venues with sufficiently high ceilings, that can accommodate the incredible acrobatics of the performers.

In fact,Cirque du Soleil will be returning to Philadelphia, in several months, on April 10-11 of 2012, where they will be making only a two-day stop at the Wells Fargo Center. That show will be Michael Jackson – The Immortal World Tour – by Cirque du Soleil.

However, Cirque du Soleil Quidam has the advantage of being at the far-smaller Liacouras Center – and as a result, you have a much more intimate setting to see the spectacular acrobatics. So we considered ourselves fortunate, to have had the opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil Quidam in the smaller venue at Temple.

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