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Theatre: Varekai
Cirque du Soleil's fourteenth show, directed by Dominic Champagne, opened in 2002.

Classical Mythology tells of Icarus (Icare), a young man who escaped with his father Daedalus from island imprisonment via wings of feathers and wax. But Icarus was so entranced and excited by this gift of flight that he flew too close to the Sun, the wax melted away, and he fell... but what if, rather than perishing in the sea as the myth tells it, he landed in an enchanted forest? With his arrival, the story of this show begins.

Icarus comes to amongst the inhabitants of the forest, animals, plants, and people, and realizes that despite all he's already gone through, he yearns to fly again — perhaps without wings. He soon has True Companions supporting his dream, including the grouchy Guide and the goofy Skywatcher. He also gains a sweetheart, the strange yet beautiful green nymph who is his Betrothed. As Act One comes to its climax, she is kidnapped and hauled up into the forest canopy by jealous spider women, and if they are ever to see each other again, they will both have to grow and change to realize what they're truly capable of. Beyond the Guide and the Skywatcher clashing with each other (particularly over the curious lightbulb that tops the former's head), comic relief is provided by two ushers (male and female) who get caught up in the action and try to show off their own talents.

The title means "wherever" in Romany Gypsy.

The most plot-driven of Cirque's touring shows, so much so that a whole photo book was published detailing the story, this show was also the basis for a foray into Reality TV for the company. Fire Within (known in French as Sans Filet ["Without a Net"]) was a documentary series covering the show's development, primarily through telling the stories of several of its performers; it aired on (pre-Network Decay) Bravo in the U.S. The show itself was filmed in 2003 during its Toronto engagement, and is spending 2013 in South America; at year's end it will relaunch as an arena-based tour.


This show features examples of:

  • Actor Role Confusion: The main characters of the narrative are named Icarus and La Promise. They are NOT named Anton and Olga (the names of the performers who originally played them). And yet, this trope is so widespread for these two characters that half of the time no one will even notice if you refer to them as such.
  • All There in the Manual: The photo book goes into plenty of detail about the characters and the plot significance of each act.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife
  • Animal Motifs: Many. Along with the obvious ones, such as the Lizard and the Caterpillar, we have the Twins, who are birds, the spider-women and the sea creatures from the Body Skating act.
  • Audience Participation: A not-so-lucky man from the audience is dragooned into the clowns' magic act in Act One.
  • Award Bait Song: "Vocea".
  • Book Ends: The show starts and ends with a merry song and dance for the ensemble which at the end is celebrating the wedding of Icarus and the Betrothed.
  • Break the Cutie: Both Icarus and his Betrothed.
  • Broken Angel: The Limping Angel, who travels on crutches. According to the backstory, he was broken when his heart was, and he's terribly jealous of Icarus and the Betrothed as a result.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Skywatcher — he's even tied a rope to a floating cloud and can lead it around!
  • Costume Porn: Even by Cirque Du Soleil standards, there are wild (and wildly beautiful) costumes in this show. This is not surprising given that the designer, Eiko Ishioka, created the Oscar-winning frocks of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
  • Disappearing Box: The clowns use the "curtain" version in their magic act and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the final stretch, the transformed Betrothed returns to Icarus; the finale is their wedding ceremony, complete with a Bouquet Toss — the female clown catches it.
  • Everything's Better With Sparkles: The transformed Betrothed's glimmering white bodysuit.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The water meteors act.
  • Fantastic Romance: Both of our lovers have to undergo metamorphoses, inner and outer, in order to be together ( hers actually involves a chrysalis).
  • Femme Fatale: The spider women.
  • From Beyond The Fourth Wall: The clowns first appear in the preshow as ushers; the forest creatures pull them into the action as the show begins.
  • Jungle Japes: The forest is a mostly friendly version of this.
  • Long Runners: Marked its 10th anniversary in Spring 2012.
  • Loudness War: Even circuses aren't immune; this show yielded the first noticable case of it with Cirque du Soleil's soundtrack albums.
  • Love at First Sight: Icarus and the Betrothed.
  • Man in White: Icarus, representing his innocence (plus, it makes him look like an angel).
  • Moment Killer: Icarus' first kiss with his Betrothed is rudely interrupted by the spider-women, who then proceed to kidnap her.
  • Opening Ballet: More a merry romp than a ballet, but it certainly sets the scene.
  • Playing with Fire: The Georgian dancers.
  • Public Domain Character: Icarus.
  • Rearrange the Song / Rewritten Pop Version: The Delirium concert tour presented fresh takes on the following songs.
    • "Le Reveur" became "Saloum".
    • "Pazivota" became "Someone".
    • "Emballa" became "Desejo".
    • "Oscillum" became "Cold Flame".
    • "El Pendulo" became "Lifeline".
  • Running Gag: The Guide's lightbulb; this comes to a climax when it has to be changed.
  • Shout-Out: During one of their arguments, Skywatcher tries to lighten the Guide's mood with the phrase "Hakuna matata."
  • Stage Magician: The male usher tries his hand at being one, with the female usher as his assistant, in Act One.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The Guide and the Skywatcher.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: The Twins, Kastor and Pollux. Hoo boy!
  • Woman in White: The transformed Betrothed.
  • Your Head Asplode: This is the bloodless punchline to the clowns' magic act.

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DralionLong RunnersAh! My Goddess

alternative title(s): Varekai
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