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By • Jun 1st, 2000 •

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How do you spell success? MYSTéRE! After more than 3000 performances, playing to a constantly packed theater, no one can doubt this unique Cirque du Soleil troupe has mastered the technique of captivating audiences, many of whom are return customers. The danger in attempting to review such an established groundbreaking show is that all of the superlatives have already been used – and with good reason. The production is a masterpiece!

Since 1984 Cirque du Soleil has performed on four continents enthralling more than twenty million people with their breathtaking acrobatics and superb choreography. ‘Mystére’ opened at the Treasure Island Hotel in 1993 and is scheduled to run through 2003. Unlike Cirque du Soleil’s other the traveling shows (‘Dralion’, ‘Saltimbanco’, ‘Alegria’, ‘Quiedam’ and the latest, ‘La Nouba’), ‘Mystére’ benefits from performing on a stage built to exact specifications for the complex integration of awe-inspiring sights and exquisite sounds. The theater was carefully designed with the audience in mind. There are no bad seats. Besides, there is so much going on that one could not possibly see everything in a single viewing.

Sweeping in scope, there are 74 eclectic and multidisciplinary performers assembled from many countries around the world. They are assisted by unseen, but intimately involved, supporters. Action takes place not only on the hydraulically complex main stage, but also above and around you. Acoustically, the theater reverberates when a throbbing drum ensemble – led by one huge drum – descends from high overhead.

For those inclined to study the arcane origins of ‘Mystére’, the colorful program proclaims a sophisticated mythology complete with nouveau-linguistics. Cirque du Soleil began in Baie-Saint-Paul, “a haven of creativity,” in 1982 and was officially consecrated two years later with support from the Quebec government. Their international headquarters is now in Montreal. This unique concept was conjured from the vivid imagination of director Franco Dragone and birthed with the assistance of skilled and visionary artisans.

My friend Dr. Christopher (Kit) Green put the physical effort and skill involved in ‘Mystére’ in perspective. “It is,” he said, “as if they were conducting two Olympic performances every night.” He is right. Five nights a week (‘Mystére’ is dark Monday and Tuesday) these performers conduct acrobatic acts and feats of strength that tax your imagination. In fact, those who have personally been involved in competitive gymnastics or weightlifting will be even more impressed with these unbelievable accomplishments.

The show actually begins as you arrive. As a word of caution, keep your tickets in your hand. Certainly don’t give them to the older gentleman in tennis shoes, one Mr. LeGrand, who may offer to guide you to your seat. Once that mistake is made, you will find yourself in the spotlight (quite literally) and bound for a twisted voyage around, over, and through the already seated audience. So nefarious is Mr. LeGrand that the program offers a disclaimer pertaining to his antics.

Every aspect of Mystére is visually stunning. In The Entertainment Capital of the World there are many good shows but few great ones. ‘Mystére’ ranks among the great shows – one that any new visitor to Las Vegas must include. Those who have already experienced this wonder know why they should go back.

‘Mystére’ is self-described as “the enigma of time, the bearer of hopes and dreams but also of tragedy.” In truth one cannot adequately convey the grandeur, meaning, and complexity of this chef-d’oeuvre. This “celebration of life” simply must be experienced.

Mystére is presented at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays in the Mystére Theatre at Treasure Island, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd South. Tickets are $75. Call for tickets: 1-800-392-1999. The ‘Mystére’ CD (09026-62686-2) is available from RCAVictor.

For those interested in joining a Cirque du Soleil troupe, auditions for artistic and acrobatic talent will be held in June in Montreal, Canada; in September in New York, U.S.; and in November in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For more detailed information email and visit the website.

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