Cavalia’s “Odysseo” is a showcase for people and horses working together, which seems a more apt description than referring to it as some kind of circus. Yes, there are elements that are gleaming and golden, and female riders with skirts billowing and male riders with bare chests, but there’s not a sequin in sight. The staging leads to some great visual treats, and even the simpler ones — a routine involving tumblers, another with acrobat/dancers draping themselves around carousel poles — leave you gasping.So I started thinking about why we humans love to see tricks. The human ones always demonstrate extraordinary use of the same human body parts that most of us possess.
I can’t watch a tumbler without wondering what it would feel like to be inside that chassis, to be spinning in circles like a top, to be skipping across the surface of the performer’s arena like a stone on the surface of a river. The simple pleasure is visual, yes, but deeper than that; I think it’s about the spectators imagining themselves each inside those tumbling bodies. If I can’t fly, he can, on my behalf.During the performance, you get the feeling that the horses are in conversation with their riders and trainers. Occasionally you can hear a spoken word; I saw a few snacks being given as rewards. Mainly the two species just seem to be pleasing each other. Be kind enough to take me over that fence, horse, and I will stroke your nose and keep your oats free of mane hair. And we will be friends forever.
•Olympic skaters Brian Boitano and Kristi Yamaguchi headlined “Golden Moment,” an ice skating show on Nov. 20 and 21 in Honolulu, with proceeds going to Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation (about early childhood literacy). For Boitano, the first skating show they’d done together in 20 years was a personal benchmark: He’s now skated in all 50 states.•“Parallel,” the first-ever show of couture dresses designed by Tokyo Gamine, Yuka Uehara, was held on Nov. 20 at the Russian Cultural Center in the Western Addition.
There was a red carpet, dancer/models, videos telling a story while showing the clothes. “Tokyo Gamine wants to provide beautiful stories for your life,” said the program. And it seemed, at the end, as the spectators rose to give the performers a round of applause, that the story of Japanese-born Uehara might be one of those. The clothes were sassy and fresh, just as the designer seems to be.•Sarah Ruhl’s “Stage Kiss” opened at the San Francisco Playhouse on Nov. 21, and is scheduled to run through Jan. 9. A lot of this play has to do with kissing, and the lead actors must have prepared for months for this endurance test. The female lead, Carrie Paff, is not only a major kisser, but also has to slurp from a plastic bottle. In this time of drought, keeping lips moist is a necessity. Let’s hope there’s money in the budget for Chapstick.
And (oh dear, are columns in the near future going to have two semi-regular kickers?) today we commence this year’s happy holiday press releases:“The Holidays are coming, and with them an average 3-10 percent spike in deaths. As terrible as the statistic is, the compounding effect of social media can add to the grief.” The release goes on to say that a “nationally-noted social grief expert,” who can be reached through the public relations firm, is available for quoting.Plus, of course, today’s drought tip: Plan a picnic, or even better, a lavish outdoor wedding. Leave your convertible in the driveway with the top down. Hire a window washer. And then whatever you do, dance. This may not affect the rainfall, but it’s always a good idea.
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