(DETROIT, MI) – When the Cirque Du Soleil visits Little Caesars Arena Jan. 10-13, audiences will be treated to spectacular acrobatic feats telling the story of Corteo, which means “cortege” or funeral procession in Italian. That may sound like a somber affair but Cirque Du Soleil makes this funeral parade a celebration of life, full of music, movement and comedy.
Corteo, first performed in 2005, tells the story of a clown named Mauro who imagines his own funeral procession.
The sheer emotion of Corteo will draw the audience into the performance.Harvey Donnelly
“It is a painting come to life,” says trampoline artist and acrobat Harvey Donnelly. “The clown, Mauro, wakes up at his own funeral which is a celebration of his life and goes through the different journeys of his life. It is very cool.”
Donnelly describes the sheer emotion of the story which is what he thinks will ultimately draw the audience into the performance. He stresses that it is not just talented acrobats executing complicated tricks, there is a deep level of storytelling that will resonate with everyone.
“A lot of the emotions and things that come across in the show are easy for the audience to relate to,” says Donnelly. “That is what is beautiful. We have performed in 18 different countries and the Cirque Du Soleil performance transcends language. It shows that language is not the most important form of communication.”
Donnelly, who grew up in England, comes from a family of trampolinists and joined Cirque Du Soleil at age 19 in 2011. He made a video of all his best moves, sent it to Cirque Du Soleil in Montreal, and did not expect to get a response. Six days later, the call came asking if Donnelly wanted to join the troupe. This is Donnelly’s eighth season with Cirque Du Soleil and Corteo is his fifth show.
“This is one of the most talented casts I’ve worked with,” says Donnelly. “The acrobatic talent is really pushing the envelope.”
Unlike many other shows, the music at Cirque Du Soleil is all live. Nothing is pre-recorded. Donnelly discloses that acrobatics is a bit of an imprecise art in that the timing of performing the various tricks is not exactly the same every night. Somehow, the band adjusts to the performers making it seamless in the eyes of the audience.
“What makes it so incredible and unique is that this is the circus and we are doing acrobatics so nothing is exact but we have a great band and the musicians adjust to what we are doing to that you think that we are ending perfectly but we really aren’t; it is just that we have an incredible band,” says Donnelly.
“I really feel like this performance, Corteo, takes you back to the old school Cirque Du Soleil. When it was first proposed that we do this story, there were a lot of people in the company who were skeptical because they thought it could only be performed inside a big circus tent and though the show would lost its vibe done this way. But we were able to keep the intimacy. You forget that you are in an arena and you feel like you are in a circus tent and right back to the original experience.”