Au Revoir, Quidam

Sorry this post is a longer one..

The cast and crew of Quidam gave their final performance on February 26 in Christchurch, New Zealand.  I would have written about it then, but my job(s) took up too much of my time, and I am just now able to sit, reflect, and write.

I had the incredible fortune to obtain access to the live webcast which started at 12:00 am my time. After animation and before Zoe entered the stage they gave this statement:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight we celebrate a very special occasion as we bid farewell to one of Cirque du Soleil’s most classic, iconic, and beloved shows. For 20 years, Quidam has delighted more than 14 million spectators, visiting 241 cities in 42 countries, circling the globe twice. We are proud and honored to present the very last performance tonight, here with you in ChristChurch, New Zealand. And now, for one final time., Quidam!”

What was also special about this performance is that they allowed ALL acts to be performed.  That means nothing was taken out, the rotation acts were all included. Despite the lower quality of the webcam, the passion and energy of the performers could still be felt.  Jamieson Lindenburg really let it all out and the saxophonist did a really out there solo during aerial hoops that just killed me (in a good way!). I was beaming and wiping away tears (what can I say?) the entire time.

After a perfect Banquine run, the iconic red curtain came out and Zoe (played by Alessandra Gonzalez) returned the bowler hat to its owner. Per usual, the opening chords for Quidam’s titular song began.  But this was not like every other performance, Alessandra and Jamieson sang the opening verses in the English form, not gibberish. A very special way to complete their run.

One of the most beautiful parts of Quidam is at the very end when the performers take off their wigs and walk out for their final bow on stage.  Unlike any other Cirque du Soleil show, as they walk out, a voice calls out each of their first names, giving strength to the overarching message of Quidam by taking away the anonymity of each performer. In this final performance, they got rid of the typical invisible, anonymous, male voice, and instead had each performer saying their own names in a prerecorded track.

Finally, they came out one final time.  Some performers held up flags from their countries and were cheering and crying and giving hugs to each other.  Meanwhile, confetti dropped from the ceiling.  After maybe five minutes of pure bittersweet farewells, the stage started to empty and the audience cleared.  It was over and tomorrow the performers would leave their Quidam family and scatter across the globe to new adventures.

Do I think Quidam could have last another 20 years?  Honestly, yes (but with a little tenacity).  The message is still very relevant and in many ways seems more pertinent than when it premiered.  Also, the telepherique and automation system provided helped to give this production an increased sense of immersion (no tech people moving about setting up equipment or harnesses) and helped to give an intimate and beautiful simplicity that is in no other Cirque du Soleil show.  Each act also emphasized human ability.  There was no complicated equipment, each performer simply used ropes, wheels, or just their own human bodies.

That said, there are some aspects that after 20 years are more dated. Most obviously with the music, the synthesized sounds specifically are at some times a bit hard for my ears to deal with.  But this is something I think could easily be reworked in a way that is respectful to the original content.

I could probably go on for days with thoughts and comments about the final performance of Quidam.  But I will end this for now. Thank you dearly to everyone who has been involved with the show both on and off stage since its inception.   You have changed my life and the lives of many others, what you do is more inspiring and more important than you may know. It is not just entertainment.

Please, if anyone is reading this, what are your thoughts? Do you think Quidam could have continued on, or was it time?  I would love to hear what you have to say.  Thank you to my fellow Quidamers for sharing this journey.

One thought on “Au Revoir, Quidam

  1. I do believe Quidam could have continued on for a long time! And I agree with your thoughts on the music, while I don’t think it’s unbearable, a dusting off of the synthesized sounds would certainly have livened up the experience. Whatever their reasons for ending the show, it is quite sad that it’s over.

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