Written and directed by Deborah Colker, OVO is a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight, and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. The insects’ home is a world of biodiversity and beauty filled with noisy action and moments of quiet emotion. When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object that represents the enigma and cycles of their lives.
It’s love at first sight when a gawky, quirky insect arrives in this bustling community and a fabulous ladybug catches his eye—and the feeling is mutual. OVO is overflowing with contrasts. The hidden, secret world at our feet is revealed as tender and torrid, noisy and quiet, peaceful and chaotic. And as the sun rises on a bright new day the vibrant cycle of insect life begins anew. The name OVO means “egg” in Portuguese. This timeless symbol of the life cycle and birth of numerous insects represents the underlying thread of the show. Graphically, OVO hides an insect in its name: The two “Os” represent the eyes while the letter “V” forms the nose.
Cirque du Soleil started as a group of 20 street performers in 1984 and has grown into the major Québec-based organization that it is today. Providing high-quality artistic entertainment, the company has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 artists from more than 50 different countries. Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to close to 155 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over forty countries on six continents and it has brought its newest performance to Charleston.
The hardest working insects in the community are the bright red Ants. As soon as they’re awake they spend their day gathering food: On the menu today – kiwis and corn. But it’s not all work. They play with their food, too – with their feet – in an astonishing display of precision juggling that climaxes with ants juggling ants.
A Dragonfly performs a graceful balancing act in and out of the slender stalks and twisting tendrils of an elegant plant. It takes extraordinary control and strength to transfer his weight from one hand to the other as he maintains equilibrium upside down on top of the foliage.
In a tour-de-force performance, a spider defies gravity and physics in a succession of seemingly impossible feats of strength and balance as he traverses a wire that appears to give him no support. At one point he hangs at a 45 ° angle over the ground, some 15 ft below, and he tops that with an upside-down unicycle act. The wire is in almost-constant motion up and down, adding to the degree of difficulty!
This act features a dozen artists running, jumping, and walking across—and straight up—a vertical wall without artificial support. Air mat and trampolines give them the speed, lift and momentum to take flight. Their athletic ability, physical strength, and team coordination take care of the rest.
To create the musical score for OVO, Berna Ceppas combined the sounds of bossa nova and samba with funk and electro music. And, as you might expect from a Brazilian – there is a lot of percussion in the score. Berna Ceppas sampled actual insect sounds to combine with the music directly from the keyboard. He also assigned instruments and individual themes to specific characters. The 7-piece band includes a bandleader/drummer, bass and double bass player, percussionist, violinist, wind instruments player, keyboard player, guitarist, plus one singer. Like almost all of Cirque du Soleil shows, the music is performed live. Unlike musicals, the music needs to adapt to what is going on stage and not the other way around. To do so, the band leader, the musicians, the singers and the sound staff are in constant communication via headsets and microphones.
From feats of strength and skill to artistry set to music, we were treated to a world class two hour performance. We all loved the gravity defying acrobatics, stunning costumes, perfectly choreographed music, and the simple yet entertaining storyline. As you can imagine the energy from contortionists, tumblers, trapeze artists, jugglers, and other performers was contagious. You could feel it throughout the coliseum. I left the arena with a big smile on my face excited to see the next Cirque creation. However, I still want to know what is in that egg?!?!
These performers have a busy schedule ahead of them. After leaving North Charleston, SC the show goes to Fairfax, VA; Baltimore, MD; Uniondale, NY; and Boston, MA before heading to Laval, Quebec in mid-September.