After the storm
Aug 23, 2022 | 3:20 pm
The Tears of a Clown
Mauro’s funeral has lasted years. Corteo by Cirque Du Soleil, the elegiac circus show celebrating the life of a fictional clown upon his passing, is returning to North America for the first time since 2019. Originally in Italian but beloved around the world, this piece of theater will both entertain and move Austinites as it transforms the Moody Center for five shows, February 2-5, 2023.
Although Corteo has been in North America, this is its Ausin debut. It comes on the heels of Ovo almost exactly one year prior. Where the insect-themed Ovo dealt with birth via a mysterious egg, Corteo runs through a clown’s memories and relationships as he’s on his deathbed. The tone is nostalgic, but according to artistic director Alison Crawford, it’s not a sad show.
Angels play a big part in the narrative as they help Mauro look over his life.Photo by Maja Prgomet
“It's very touching because we get to know his character and the people that he loved during his life. He was a clown, so he had … some funny moments, and there's happy moments,” says Crawford. “Sad moments? I mean, at the end, we feel he's leaving us. Some people, it can remind them of somebody that was dear to them. But it's a very happy look at life.”
Set in the 18th century — if not in earthly Italy, then at least in a very Italian space full of chandeliers and velvet — this quasi-play is narrated by Mauro, and set to music by a seven-piece band spanning several styles from the folk music of the Romani people and Ashkenazi Jews, to more romantic and lyrical tunes. The multicultural aesthetic draws wonder from all audiences, but Crawford says Americans seem most drawn to humor across the circus repertoire.
Costumes by Dominique Lemieux bring a Harlequin sensibility to this antique circus.Photo by Maja Prgomet
“I love every moment of it. I've watched the show hundreds of times and I still don't get bored of it,” says Crawford. “The music really pulls you into the story, too.”
Corteo premiered in 2005 in Montreal, under a Big Top tent, meaning things will look a little different here, in Austin. This show in particular is unique for its dual view of the circular stage, causing half of the audience to face the other. Despite the opulent stage design and safety considerations — with aerialists literally swinging from the chandeliers — loading the show in takes 12 hours, and loading out takes less than four.
Like Crawford, audiences who have been to many Cirque Du Soleil shows know that the shine remains, even when they’ve seen the troupe or the story before. Austin is the only Texas city hosting this circus, but audiences have five chances to see it. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.
The sounds of the city are on full blast in the days to come. Find out where the Live Music Capital of the World gets its name when you head to Austin City Limits Music Festival, or fight through the screams at the House of Torment. Check out the top five things to do in Austin this weekend. For a full listing of events, go to our calendar.
Thursday, October 6
Roger Waters in concert
Roger Waters, the legendary musician and co-founder Pink Floyd, performs live in concert at the Moody Center. He makes his stop in Austin as part of his This is Not a Drill global tour. Fans can expect a transformative rock and roll experience with a setlist of a dozen top songs from Pink Floyd’s impressive catalogue and several newer hits. For seating availability, visit the ticketing website.
House of Torment
Austin’s most famously frightening institution opens its decrepit doors for another year of thrills and chills. Visitors to this year’s house can test their mettle at three attractions: The Abominations, Tormented, and Return to Illusion Manor. Additional highlights include mini escape games, axe throwing, and access to the Torment Tavern for those aged 21 and over. Get more information and tickets here. House of Torment is open through November 5.
Friday, October 7
Austin City Limits Music Festival
Austin's premier music festival returns to the storied grounds of Zilker Park this weekend. This year’s edition of ACL will feature can’t-miss headlining performances by Red Hot Chili Peppers, SZA, The Chicks, Kacey Musgraves, and P!nk, as well as other major artists like Diplo, Lil Nas X, Paramore, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and many more. Check out our list of 11 must-see artists at this year's fest.
Bat City Scaregrounds
Venture out to Buda to explore the sprawling, spooky campus known as Bat City Scaregrounds. This immersive, multi-acre entertainment complex features haunted house attractions, Vegas-style performances, live music, food vendors, and more. The grounds are open through October 31.
Saturday, October 8
Fareground Food & Wine Festival
Feast on the bounty Fareground has to offer at this special foodie event. Festival attendees will get the opportunity to sample and explore bites offered by the collective eatery. Featured wines and a speciality wine tasting will also be available for a well-rounded adventure through food. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.