We’ve been feeling guilty for some years now, at never having been to our Montreal-grown, internationally  acclaimed  Cirque du Soleil. But I guess that’s like a lot of things; we have the world-famous Montreal Botanical Gardens to which we have been all of 3 times in 30 years.

So for Christmas I gave my wife two prime seats to the Cirque’s new show, Totem. We went yesterday for the 4 PM matinée. Unfortunately, the seats weren’t together, one row and about 10 seats apart. At the intermission we met in the common area and immediately looked at each other. I blurted out, “Hey, I’ve seen this all before!”. To which she immediately replied, “Me too….the Ed Sullivan Show!”.

Don’t get me wrong, Quebec’s “space clown” has done a phenomenal job of putting together all these acts under one roof (even if it is a tent), and the music and high-tech sets are spectacular. But the acts are the same as they have always been. I was having this discussion with my archaeologist daughter this morning and she pointed out that these acts are likely the same ones the Romans were doing 2,500 years ago! “The human body can only do so much” she said.

It’s ultimately interesting to note that context is at least half of the perceived value of anything….it’s not just the thing itself but where, when, and with whom it happens. But it’s also interesting to note from the psychological perspective how powerful hype and buzz are at creating “legends” and perceived value.