"Ladies and Gentlemen - welcome to Cirque du Soleil. During this performance smoke
effects will be used, but these are harmless to your health. The use of video equipment, and
especially flash cameras, is strictly prohibited because of the danger it presents to our
acrobats. In case of an emergency, please stay calm and proceed to the nearest exit - here,
here, here, and here. The ushers will direct you. And now, sit back, relax and enjoy… La Nouba!"
The lights dim down and the audience becomes still now; a shock of electric excitement
filled the air as any previous vociferations come to a sharp end. And then the unforgettable
sound of a lone trumpet fills the theater, as the Festival of Characters enter, one by one, and
introduce themselves to us. The Trumpeter, himself a prince in this fairy tale, brings with him
a wonderful medley of personae and a signature melody that warms the heart. We're introduced to
L'Oiseau, the colorful green bird; Les Danseurs, a man and woman in love; the Flying Man, who
will soar into our hearts on a band of red silk; the Balancer, colorfully dressed from head to
toe, complete with a cat's tail; an Acrobat in Red, forever tumbling, he stoke the party; Le
Promeneur, shuffling about with an ever present smile; and the Titan, a menacing, threatening
man. They vanish as quickly as they come, and once again the theater falls lifeless, and dark.
The quiet is disturbed, not by the harrowed scream of a demented creature or of a maiden in
distress, but of the chime of a doorbell. Ding dong. Ding dong. The door creeks open, a column
of light shines through, outlining the form of a lady, a rather round and lifeless creature,
whose job it is to clean and sweep the floors around her. She is the cleaning lady, representing
the every day man or woman, no doubt. But as she goes about her duties, oblivious of the world
she has entered, the creatures of this fantastical realm are beginning to stir. The Green Bird
tiptoes behind her; sensing a movement, she turns but there's nothing to be found. But then…
startles at a man riding a bicycle upside down across her field of vision. And before her eyes
(and ours) more and more weird and wonderful apparitions begin to materialize: two sleepwalking
fools canter by; a small train pulls in to station, and the cries of a hungry, estranged wolf mix
with the howls and sirens of warning to announce the coming clash of dream and nightmare.
Unable to hold back any longer, the insane world of La Nouba pours forth and spills upon
the stage before us. Startled, we all peer at the newcomers as they stream steadily from the
opened door. Caught up now as she is in their world, we march forward to their militaristic tune.
Fantasy and reality are merging before our eyes and we are lost to make heads or tails of either.