“I’ll never look at an overpass the same way again”, I whispered to the crowds.
Thousands of people gathered after dark under the Dufferin highway overpass in Québec City, Québec, to watch Cirque du Soleil wave a magic wand over a hushed crowd, with a performance of The Invisible Paths or Les Chemins Invisible, as it is named in French.
Above us were concrete roads and stars, and in front of us, a stage made from industrial junk moving with human stars. This is a performance of colour, movement and sound. Wrapped around a giant swing hanging from the overpass, a trapeze artist dazzles the breathless audience. Another performer danced while twirling silver hoola hoops that moved so fast, they became solid shapes in the darkness. Nimble guys bounced off in all directions from hidden trampolines. The blend of colour, images and movement defied gravity to take the imaginations of the audience to a world we could not resist. Electronic music and sounds, clothing of an unknown time and place and projected images on metal walls led us down invisible paths of magical thinking. Changing colours, shapes and light beams projected the performance into the audience and out into the night. The next morning it would all be empty concrete under the overpass.
The Cirque du Soleil is a Québec based troupe that has been entertaining audiences around the world, in a unique style since 1984. It has grown to become a renowned company, with 5000 employees, consisting of 50 nationalities and speaking 25 languages.
I looked around to see an audience of all ages around me. A homeless street person could be mesmerized beside the mayor of the city, as no ticket is required for the performance.
This performance is a summer gift to any and all in Québec City.
While walking back to the hotel up a steep, dimly lit street to the upper part of Québec City, I noticed people lining the stone walls overlooking the city. They wore cardboard 3D glasses. A movie was showing on a what looked like a giant screen down on the waterfront
When darkness fell the following evening, we joined the thousands sitting along the waterfront on the pavement or in lawn chairs to watch the nightly performance of THE IMAGE MILL – 3D imaging projected onto the grain silos on the St. Lawrence River.
The 81 white rounded joined silos stretch 600 metres in length and 30 metres high, and are said to provide this city with the world’s largest projection screen. The immensity of the visual surface stretches our minds into another time and place.
A series of images set to music and sound, are projected onto the silos, that become magically three dimensional with 3D glasses. We hunted deer with Canada’s First Nations people, sailed from far off countries to land in Quebec for the first time, watched a train travel across the long tracks spanning the silos. Behind the falling snow, winter scenes of the past bring viewer close to history. It was as if we were peeking into giant windows of the past as the images brought us through four hundred years of Quebec’s history in a way that would take anyone’s breath away. This impressive work was created by Robert LePage and Ex Machina.
No expensive performance venues were used for these two nights of free entertainment.
Québec City feeds people well on culture in the most extra ordinary places.
Two nights in Québec, two special performances, all free for the taking.
If you Go
The Invisible Paths , Chemins Invisible – Cirque du Soleil , nightly, times vary check schedule: www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/events/cheminsinvisibles/show.aspx – June 24 – to Sept. 27/11-
Mill 3 D – www.lacaserne.net – June 28 – Sept. 3/11 – admission free