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July 28, 2006

Life brought into balance

Cirque cast forms a family of friends,
far from home

Urban life continues to unbalance people, separating them from the realities of bygone eras when they were in touch with themselves and nature.

Humankind becomes more and more desperate for shelter from the karmic storm, for a little peace of mind in turbulent times.

Into this disturbing milieu comes a multimedia panacea swirling with 21 remixed songs, dance, flight and metaphor.

It is Delirium, Cirque du Soleil’s latest and most different show, coming to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland for four shows, August 3 to 5 at 8 pm, with a 2 pm Saturday matinee.

The piece, Cirque’s first to focus on the music rather than the acrobatics, follows Bill, a city-dweller who is becoming increasingly detached from the people around him, the product of an age where relationships are virtual, dating is online, and entertainment is downloaded over a DSL line.

Bill enters the world of Delirium lost and confused, being led like Dante through the inferno to a point where he can grow and change, metamorphosing into a more complete and balanced human being.

Among the guides on his journey is the light-bearing Diogenes, played onstage by Polish dancer Marcin Baczyk, a gay man in a bi-national relationship with his German husband.

“He offers to the audience a discourse, a meditation on the masculine and feminine sides of our nature,” Baczyk said of his character, “in other words, that sense of ambivalence and sexual dialogues that lies within each of us.”

He continued, “He has the personality of an artist/philosopher. He is a light carrier represented through a red ball, a representation of Bill’s childhood.”

Taking it deeper, Baczyk opined, “He is a shaman who comes from the luminous tribe. He brings creativity, nobility and sensuality to Bill’s imagination; he shows Bill a journey into another imagination.”

It has been a long road for Baczyk, from his youth in Poland to the stage of Quicken Loans Arena.

He began studying dance and other forms of movement like gymnastics and judo when he was six, and four or five years later learned to play the piano and the cello, ultimately studying ballet at Julliard.

“The skill I have acquired brought me to put all my knowledge together and professionally work in Europe,” he said. “I worked in different theaters in various types of roles. For the past four to five years now, I have been exploring a movement on high heels that helps me to differentiate the androgynous sexual dialogue between men and women.”

“It’s actually what inspired me to do Delirium, as is it a specialty for me to incorporate the masculine side to female elements (high heels) and create or develop a character onstage.”

“I must say I have done a lot of experimental, underground and avant-garde projects with other artists,” he noted. “Most of the time, it was in Berlin that I could explore my creativity, my thoughts. Many of the projects I was involved in enabled me to realize that what I enjoyed the most is performing as a solo artist, to have a character of my own.”

“I particularly enjoyed performing in Berghain, which is a performing center in Berlin,” Baczyk said. “It’s a club at night but a performing center by day.”

Baczyk and his partner were one of the earliest couples to be joined in August 2001 when Germany introduced “Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft,” or registered life partnerships.

Baczyk’s partner is German, and the couple lives in Berlin.

“We unfortunately do not see each other very often; the distance that separates us doesn’t really help. We’ll see each other about two or three times a year only,” he lamented. “However, before I joined Delirium we had spent three months together at home.”

“We have a very mature relationship; we have our goals and communication is of utmost importance,” he said. “If we are separated for a while, it can even make the relationship even stronger . . . if you can share and reveal your dream to the other, you can reach for something else in the relationship!”

Despite Baczyk and his partner’s maturity and love, the separation is still difficult.

“Of course it’s hard to have no one on the other pillow at night and alone in bed,” he confided. “It’s a very challenging process for me because I am used to living in a secure area and having family, friends and my loved ones around me.”

“Although you do miss that in your regular day-to-day life, having such a mature cast of 45 artists helps to survive, to explore, and they become like another family,” Baczyk said. “You can see different worlds coming together, speaking with different languages, gestures and habits. It’s a great experience and helps a little bit in feeling less lonely.”

Tickets for Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium range from $71.50 to $112. Tickets for the 2 pm matinee on August 5 range from $39 to $89. They can be purchased online at, or, or at the Quicken Loans Arena box office or by calling 216-2415555 in Cleveland, 330-9459400 in Akron or 330-7471212 in Youngstown.


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