Holly Herndon – For The Californian
In Italian, Viaggio means “journey” and the performance troupe, iL CiRCo, wants to take their audience with them on theirs.
“The Viaggio show, starring the cast of iL CiRCo, presents a story about transformation, about overcoming fears, and believing in yourself,” producer Sam Trego said. “It is the journey of a young girl who finds herself caught up in a whimsical world where people live life in living color. They fly through the air. They tumble, sing, dance, and climb trees as if they were frogs. The young girl’s new friends teach her a new way of looking at the world that opens her eyes to some pretty amazing qualities that she finds in herself.”
The iL CiRCo troupe combines acrobatics and unusual stunts with whimsical music and vibrant costumes to create a truly unique and eclectic visionary experience.
“From Chinese Poles to the German Wheel to many Russian disciplines, we have created almost a ‘United Nations’ of unique talents,” he said. “We have acts such as our Lyra act that is so beautiful you just sit there in awe and then some that are downright scary like our Rolla Bolla act that always gets an edge-of-your-seat reaction from the audience because it seems impossible that this amazing performer from Russia can balance on so many rolling devices and not crash onto the stage floor.”
Although they are a world-class production company, il CiRCo can follow their roots to right here in Southern California and many locals may have already seen them perform at a popular local theme park.
“We were a small group of eclectic performers that consisted of singers, dancers, street performers, acrobats and specialty performers,” Trego said. “After a few years of travelling in two large vans, we were noticed by one of the producers of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and were invited to perform there for 15 days. This put an international spotlight on us and after that we were immediately asked by SeaWorld to put together a new version of our show in an outdoor venue on the water. Cirque de la Mer opened in 2001 and still plays to sold-out crowds at Sea World every day during the summer.”
From there, the audiences continued to grow.
“Viaggio has toured the world in 12 different countries on four continents for over 8 million audience members,” Trego said. “That’s a long journey from the original show in March of 1996 at what used to be the Sheraton Torrey Pines hotel ballroom.”
As the producer and creator, Trego has been with the show since the beginning.
“I wrote the original version of this show back in 1996. I wrote the story and I also wrote all the music that is the soundtrack for this show,” he said. “As producer, I oversee all design features of the shows and develop new acts and ideas that one day make it into this or one of our other shows.”
And what makes iL CiRCo different from that other cirque group, featured prominently in Las Vegas showrooms?
“In our early days, the name of our show was Cirque Nouveau and between the title and the fact that there were not many cirque shows in existence at all, we often got confused with the other troupe,” Trego said. “In the late 1990s, we change the overall artistic design of our show to something we found to be quite unique in all circus oriented shows; we drew inspiration from the Italian Commedia. Although the costumes are a bit more over the top, all of the many characters of iL CiRCo are directly based on the original characters of the Italian Commedia, such as Columbina, Ottavio, Isabella and Dottore. They all make an appearance or an influence in this show.”
Inland Empire residents have a chance to see the spectacle of Viaggio for themselves as the troupe comes to Pechanga Resort & Casino April 3-4.
Viaggio gives everyone who buys a ticket a chance to escape their reality and enter a world that previously existed only in their imaginations.
“I think everyone needs a little escape right now,” Trego said. “Movie and some theater attendance is at an all time high right now and that’s because people need an escape. What gives (the show) good ‘escape value’ is that it is a fantasy with fantastic visuals and presents the circus in a way that is more like a Broadway show, but yet it touches the heart and really brings a positive message to its audiences. I think we all need that now, perhaps more than ever.”