Cavalia returns to Ventura County. “Odysseo,” Cavalia’s second theatrical show, which had a popular run in Orange County last year, is running in Camarillo through January 7, 2018. Although, Camarillo is a good 40 plus miles from the Mid-Wilshire area in L.A., the trip to see “Odysseo” is well worth it.
For those not familiar with Cavalia, its parent company, Cavalia Inc. is a Montreal based entertainment company that reimagines equestrian and theatrical arts. What does that mean? On a simple level, think a cross between Cirque du Soleil and a horse show. However, “Odysseo” is so much more as it blends awe-inspiring equestrian arts with imaginative stagecraft, amazing acrobatic feats and cutting-edge technical effects. This multi-million dollar extravaganza expands the definition of performance into an epic yet soulful theatrical experience.
The Cavalia experience starts as patrons enter the signature eye catching white big top tent. The tent is immense and is pitched in a way as to provide ample space for the horses and the artists to play together and perform breathtaking numbers. The stage is set-up so there is not a bad seat in the entire house and is big enough to include a three-story high man-made mountain along with a state-of-the-art video screen that is three times the size of the world’s largest cinema screen. It’s a remarkable set that allows the artists, horses, visuals and live music to all come together to create a magical theatrical experience. It’s that experience that has drawn in more than 4 million people from around the world since its debut in 2003. In addition, it is an experience that leaves both parent and child, young and old in awe as the “Odysseo” story unfolds before their eyes.
Who are the true stars of the show? It’s the 65 horses that are part of the ensemble cast. The horses represent a dozen different breeds from 6 countries including Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the United States and Canada. Before “Odysseo” starts, the audience is brought up to speed about these cast members by taking a multiple choice quiz that is projected on the stage's curtains. This quiz gets the crowd pumped up for the show and educates them about the breeds and their backgrounds. These highly trained animals play in complicity and with freedom, in a respectful relationship with their human counterparts, creating a moving artistic and emotive partnership that represents the age-old bond between human and horse. You have to respect and appreciate the training and care the animals are given to get the stellar performances they give during “Odysseo.” It’s mesmerizing.
“Odysseo” is the masterpiece of Normand Latourelle, creator of Cavalia Inc. and renowned for combining different forms of artistic expression and reinventing the scenic space. “Odysseo” does just that in this heart reaching live performance. “Odysseo” transports the audience on an epic journey to some of the nature’s greatest wonders including the Mongolian Steppes to Monument Valley, the African Savannah to Nordic Glaciers, and from the Sahara Desert to Easter Island. This all takes place using the magic of digital projection that is interweaved with live music and layered with performers, who work both with and without the horses in breathtaking acts throughout the show. The beauty of “Odysseo” is how these performers come together with the animals. The performance is so natural and captivating as the musicians and vocalists, stationed above to the North and South end of the stage peer down and become in sync with the peformers. Throughout this grand voyage, spectators discover urban stilters and applaud the prowess of a troupe of African acrobats. Theatergoers are amazed by horses powering angelic aerialists in a four-person silks act that takes them into the skies.
The man-made mountain is used in multiple segments throughout the show. The use of this mountain along with the digital projection produces visuals an effect where the horses and their riders appear to come on stage from vast distances. Audiences will witness the beauty of 15 horses lying on sand dunes and awakened by the sound of an African harp called a Kora. It is also used in a silhouette sequence with a rider and her Arabian horse. This sequence is part of a beautiful liberty number, uniting purebred Arabian horses that are directed by inaudible vocal commands from their kneeling trainer. It’s Hollywood magic at its best.
The “Odysseo” epic wraps up with a fantastic crescendo as the stage is inundated with 40,000 gallons of recycled water that pools into a small lake. A vertiginous, virtual waterfall overhangs the lake, in which horses, riders and artists join to frolic, leaving behind traces of their splashes as well as an astonished audience. As the show concludes, the immense reaction of the audience shows how special this production is.
Ticket prices range from $29.50 to $154.50 + applicable fees. For a memorable outing, the Rendez-Vous package offers the best seats in the house, a full meal buffet dining before the show, open bar, desserts during intermission and an exclusive visit to the stables after the show. This unique VIP experience takes place in a tent alongside the White Big Top. The Rendez-Vous package prices range from $149.50 to $269.50 + applicable fees. Special pricing and packages are also available for groups of 12 spectators and more. Tickets for "Odysseo" are available at www.cavalia.com/venturacounty/ or by calling 1-866-999-8111.