We all know it. At least parts of it. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas originally titled A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore. The poem first published in 1823 became an instant classic, an American tradition. It is the basis for all that we have come to think of as Santa - the reindeers, the chimney, dressed in red, all of it. It is read throughout the country in homes and churches and libraries and schools. That little old elf has become a part of our folklore, ingrained into every child’s imagination. And now Cirque du Soleil has reinvented the story with acrobats and jugglers and magicians and gravity-defying humans as well as spectacular roller skating, dancing, music, lights, sets, and costumes - you will be awed. A smile smashed across your face, you will clap and cheer and wish that this was not just 77 minutes long but forever long.
We follow Isabelle who as a teenager is totally over her father reading the traditional story to her. She is bored by it. Her father, clearly upset by her boredom, slams the book shut and with that, a storm erupts conjuring spritely creatures of snow and fun who whisk Isabelle to another world and her father in a search for his child. The two of them embark on special journeys, journeys only Cirque du Soleil could imagine.
What we humans are capable of doing with our physical selves, our defiance of gravity is astonishing. Each performance builds and builds becoming more and more eyes-wide-open, jaw-dropping feats of daring and beauty. And the clown work is so wonderful, so unlike what we expect of the traditional clown.
Along the way, Isabelle finds a renewed love of the story of Santa and her own kind of magic.
The theme of the night is the beauty of giving and the light in all of us. Again and again, the light of the night, that symbolic star of David, is given away and shared and held with care. And that light is one of the ways that Cirque du Soleil took thought in keeping the production as nondenominational as possible to make sure that all could experience the wonderment.
This Holiday season you have a lot of choices for splendid entertainment and Holiday cheer. Put ‘Twas The Night Before...by Cirque du Soleil at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on the top of your must-see list. No need to check it twice. Just go!
(Photo by Errisson Lawrence)