Brennan Figari of the north bay, a little town called Woodacre on the coast near Pt. Reyes and Tomales Bay, stars as an aerialist with a Cirque du Solei style of show called Odysseo. This latest creation by Cavalia comes with free running male horses, including young Arabians, running at liberty in a gigantic big top raised yesterday at AT&T Park. Odysseo, like it’s cousin Cirque du Soleil, uses the Giants’ parking lot. Odysseo’s Marc Beaudry and Eric Paquette guided journalists through the raising and into the shady tent after the half hour process of pulling the fabric over the frame. The tent will hold a lake and a new multi-media show with a gigantic projection screen showing gorgeous images of natural wonders of the world. The images create a world for the international cast with the 65 horses and 45 stage artists, live and interacting in front of the grandstand. The big top perimeter alone runs a quarter mile but there’s also a tent for the stables of stallions and geldings who fly in like rock stars. Guests also get the VIP treatment with a separate tent set up with the chefs and a glorious buffet and bar.
Figari called from the current show in chilly Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada. He will perform as an aerialist with hoops suspended from the top of the tent. He also performs on silks, long strips of fabric suspended from the ceiling. He will be on foot working with a group of free running young Arabian horses, in a show called Liberte. Figari sounds excited to be home with his parents for the first Thanksgiving in five years. He will not cook but his father lets him make the salad dressing and set the table. Figari keeps in touch with Skype, email and texting while on the road. As for digital entertainment and recording, Figari says to record his spinning performances with a go pro camera on his body would result in a blur.
His parents paid their dues on the road while Figari attended aerialist and circus school in Oakland while growing up. He would go to high school in San Francisco, then go to Oakland after school for training. His parents would pick him up in the car. Figari said he loves working out and does so each day. He eats a lot. Like a horse.
Some of his Odysseo family ask that he play tour guide to his family home. They have asked about the classic sites such as Alcatraz but Figari also agrees that Tomales Bay and Pt. Reyes has some interest, particularly going to the teensy town of Marshall on the estuary for oysters at the Marshall Store and Nick’s Cove. Figari gets Thanksgiving Day off. The group gets one day off per week in general. The group though it’s hard to get away from each other, ever. The tour is so large the tour must be housed in several locations and logistics such as bicycle routes and public transportation determined. Most of the cast is young, some away from home and packing a suitcase for the first time in their lives. They live with each other 24/7 except for the one day off a week.
Figari, in his twenties, just bought his second house in Las Vegas, which has turned French Canadian with all the Cirque du Soleil shows. Figari’s employer, Cavalia, comes from Cirque du Soleil founder Normand Latourelle of Montreal, Canada. Odysseo is the second creation by Latourelle, who does come to each location of the world traveling spectacular. Latourelle grew up in Lachine on the lake but has since moved to Mount Royal itself. He speaks fluent English although Figari says there is a lot of French in the company. It’s an international cast. Cavalia, the original show, came to San Francisco five years ago. This big top is twice the size. It’s the size of a football field and the stage for 65 horses and 45 performers plus a high tech projection screen and knee-high lake of warm water.
Odysseo’s multi-cultural crew raised the big top yesterday in the sun at AT&T Park. Tractors moved some of the ground material, a mixture of sand and fiber which cushions the feet of the horses and performers. The crew will create a lake inside the tent and erect grandstands. The water will recycle using apparatus unseen and unheard by the audience. Eric Beaudry of Odysseo says the tent raising resembles hoisting a sail, with the attention paid to the wind speed and direction. The tent came from Italy and is made of a fabric that blocks light. The enormous tent has two tent poles or masts. The frame includes over thirty engines to pull the fabric up and down. The crew knows what it is doing and if a cable snags, they stop and fix the problem rather than just continuing to push the button.
TICKETS – Tickets range from $44.50 to $154.50 plus taxes and fees. Shows run TUES – FRI at 8 pm; SAT at 2 pm & 8 pm; SUN at 2 pm. No show on Thanksgiving. The schedule may vary and rain or high wind affects performances so see Cavalia for details. For tickets see the website or call.
The Rendez-Vous package offers the best seats in the house, a high quality buffet with drinks before the show including an open bar and desserts. The VIP tent stays open during intermission and VIP guests get an exclusive visit to the stables after the show. No touching. The VIP experience takes place in a tent alongside the White Big Top. The Rendez-Vous package prices range from $229.50 to $264.50 plus taxes and fees. Special pricing and packages are available for groups, children (2-12), juniors (13-17) and seniors (65+). Parking is $25. Guests may take Muni to the location at AT&T Park or walk/ride the Embarcadero. AT&T Park, 1051 3rd Street, San Francisco, California 94158.
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