The first Cirque du Soleil show I saw was either Saltimbanco or Quidam -- I think the former. Watching it in San Jose a couple of years ago with Peggy and Ryan, my eyes boggled as each act was more amazing than the one before. The humor hit the mark, the aerials were amazing, and I even enjoyed the clowns, which is normally not the case.
Tonight, we saw Corteo at the Grand Chapiteau (literally, "Big Top") next to the Taylor Street Bridge in San Jose, and it felt like Cirque Lite. To be fair, the music was as good as ever with a sound system that did it justice, the staging was flawless, with the technical aspects of the show satisfyingly visible, and a few of the performances were up to the quality I expect from Cirque du Soleil.
But I doubt that tonight's show would have propelled Cirque to the heights it enjoys. It felt like coasting, which I'm sure is wildly unfair to the young performers who put it out there night after night (including and especially the horizontal-bar performer who missed the bar, came down hard, scooted to the edge of the stage where a female cast member put her arm around his shoulder while he nursed his wrist, and finally, disappeared -- fast -- off stage).
Maybe I'm just jaded, having seen two of their traveling shows, a barrel of their video performances and a little bit of their reality TV series. Could it be something as simple as overexposure? Familiarity breeds comtempt?
To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. - e e cummings