Cirque du Soleil Bids for World Domination


Cirque du Soleil is one of the great artistic follies of our age and one of its most baffling success stories. Four productions populate the Las Vegas Strip, while others are preparing to invade Perth, Australia; Osaka, Japan; and Ostend, Belgium. Cirque du Soleil has spawned a feature film, a reality TV series, and a theater-cum-spa in Montreal. Since decamping Quebec in 1987 with a show titled Le Cirque Réinventé (“we reinvent the circus”), it has all but banished P.T. Barnum’s carnival from the imagination. Five years ago, in a desperate bid to reclaim their birthright, Barnum’s heirs even produced a knock-off of the classier Canuck show—sans midway and avec fatuousness. It flopped. Meanwhile, Cirque founder Guy Laliberté—such an inspiring name!—exudes French-Canadian benevolence. He does not say, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He says, “I dream of filling the planet with creativity.”

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