Last week, I went to see Kooza, the Cirque du Soleil touring show under the big top next to Santa Monica Pier. I had never seen a Cirque du Soleil show and was prepared to be let down by the style over the substance.
The show was awesome. There were clowns, contortionists, a trapeze artist, a unicyclist and a woman, four guys on a high wire, a juggler, a pickpocket, teeterboard acrobats, and a guy who built a tower out of chairs and proceeded to balance on it with one hand.
My favorite thrill was the wheel of death. Two guys were running and spinning in two wheels inside a bigger wheel. If my high school physics is right, they achieve zero gravity for a split second. They were just flying like super heroes. After they finished with a flourish, I realized that all the muscles around my shoulder blades were tense.
Even though I rationally knew that all the acrobats on the high up things were well trained and well able, I wondered if this was the night when they fall. Will I see a mistake or miscue? Will this be the night when it all goes wrong? As I thought all this, I realized that I was creating the drama in my mind. All the acrobats had to do was their acrobat thing.
A great dialogue happened between a mother and daughter behind us during a high wire act:
Daughter: Mom, I don’t want to watch, they might fall.
Mother: They won’t fall honey. They are professionals. This is what they do.
Daughter: Then why is the net there?
The mother didn’t have an answer for that one.
As I walked to my car parked in a garage on second street, I felt giddy like a little kid. Yes, I could talk about the showmanship and how the costumes, lighting, and music create mood and heighten the emotional experience of the performance. But Kooza had me at the clowns.
Another thrilling part of the circus was how I got the tickets.
Two weeks ago, I ran a 10K in Santa Monica. The weather conditions were perfect, and I was very relaxed through the race. When I hit mile marker five (a 10K is 6.2 miles), I started running faster and even sprinted to the finish with a big smile on my face.
At the finish at Santa Monica Pier, there were the usual booths set up for running stuff, energy drinks, and future races. Cirque du Soleil was also there. Several clowns were taking pictures for a chance to win free tickets to Kooza, their latest show under a blue and yellow tent next to the pier.
I watched as people were given mardi gras masks and posed with the clowns waving purple umbrellas. When it was my turn, I posed with an umbrella balanced between my feet. Tadaaaaa! I was high on adrenaline and energy drink. I gave my name and email to the clown with the clipboard, and that was that.
A week goes by. I got an email on Monday. I won tickets! Wow. That made my morning. I get another email on Tuesday. My tickets were for that night. So much for a quiet evening at home.
I still can’t believe I won the tickets. Maybe my luck is changing for the better.