TOTEM is performed in one of Cirque du Soleil’s mobile villages, the Grand Chapiteau, with a seating capacity of 2,600. Completely self-sufficient for electrical power, the site relies only on a local water supply and telecommunication facilities to support its infrastructure.
Written and directed by Robert Lepage, TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage resembling a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by the founding myths of many cultures, TOTEM illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend, TOTEM explores the ties that bind Man to the earth, his dreams and his infinite potential.
At the start of the show, the visually stunning Crystal Man descends to the stage from space to spark life on Earth. Acrobatic amphibians tumble over, under and across the Bars. Guiding spectators through TOTEM’s portrayal of evolution is The Tracker, an environmentally conscious friend of the animals, and The Scientist, a Darwinesque explorer. While The Tracker is angered by the thoughtless, polluting actions of the clowns, The Scientist dazzles the audience with physics experiments aided by humanity’s distant cousin, the monkey. The young Amerindian dancer guides us into a magical world, tracing the history of the evolution of species with his rings. In typical Cirque du Soleil fashion, spectators are stunned by the seemingly impossible and the grace with which the performers move.
The clown interludes provide comic relief and a reflection of man’s preoccupation with material possession, vanity and a general disregard for the natural environment in which they reside. The four leading characters challenge the clowns and the audience to consider their surroundings.
While each act is astonishing, a highlight is Unicycles and Bowls, during which five cyclists flip stacks of bowls from their feet to their companions’ heads while simultaneously maintaining their balance. The audience barely had time to catch their breath between anxiety inducing acts when the performers of Perches took the stage. The crowd was stunned with each new feat of strength and balance and audible gasps echoed through the Grand Chapiteau.
Due to high demand for tickets, one final week of performances was added to the Washington engagement of TOTEM. It’s truly a spellbinding experience, not to be missed!
WHEN: August 15th – October 7th, 2012
Tuesdays & Wednesdays: 8 p.m.
Thursdays – Saturdays: 4 and 8 p.m.
Sundays: 1 and 5 p.m.
Grand Chapiteau at The Plateau at National Harbor
156 Waterfront St
Oxon Hill MD 20745
Tickets for TOTEM can be purchased at any time online or at the Cirque du Soleil box office, located inside the entrance tent at National Harbor.