Big-Top Santa Monica: TOTEM

"The evolution of mankind" is the theme of this new production.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Tuesday, Dec 31, 2013  |  Updated 6:27 PM PDT
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Big-Top Santa Monica: TOTEM

OSA Images

Cirque du Soleil's "TOTEM" tumbles into Santa Monica in January 2014.

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If we had a wish for the topics that on-stage entertainment took on, it would be that live shows contain at least a grain of something that encourages self-reflectiveness and concern for bigger ideas among audience members.

Yeah. This isn't always the case, and, nope, we don't need deeper fare at every juncture. But, come the end of the year, and the start of it, shows that ask big questions dovetail nicely with our own resolutions and aspirations for the year ahead.

So when a spectacular all about "the evolution of mankind" springs into Santa Monica at the start of the year, well, that's timely. That it is Cirque du Soleil's "TOTEM," a show that's made a few regional stops on its way to the beach, is even more entertaining, because the big questions'll come with a side of edgy clowning.

Shouldn't deep pondering always be wearing funny suspenders and a funny wig, though? It makes all the easier.

"TOTEM" debuts next to the pier on Friday, Jan. 17 and shall include "foot juggling" and "unicycles and bowls" and "devil sticks" and balancing and hoops and all of the boggling-of-brain acrobatics that the Montreal-based troupe is famous for.

Plus, those iconic, elaborate, whimsy-weird costumes. Do you think that Cirque style will ever fully mesh with street style? Because we want to go to the Beverly Center on a pair of stilts with a giant golden ruff around our neck. Maybe a bowler hat perched cunningly atop our head, too.

Can that day come? Soon?

Show's on through Feb. 23, which means'll it will get busier than two clowns trading quips and jabs 'round Valentine's Day. That's why we'd see it earlier, in January, when the big questions -- the kind that Cirque du Soleil does ponder -- are still fresh in our resolution-making minds.

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