Crystal – get ready for a jaw-dropping experience

Madeline Stammen flies high during practice for Cirque du Soleil's Crystal now showing at CN Centre. Bill Phillips photo
Madeline Stammen flies high during practice for Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal now showing at CN Centre. Bill Phillips photo


Madeline Stammen limbers up before practice of Cirque du Soleil's Crystal now showing at CN Centre. Bill Phillips photo
Madeline Stammen limbers up before practice of Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal now showing at CN Centre. Bill Phillips photo

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

There is a definite twinkle in her eye when Madeline Stammen talks about her character in Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal.

She plays Crystal’s reflection in production now playing at CN Centre.

“I’m the evil twin,” she says with a chuckle.

In the performance, Crystal, the main character, is skating along on a pond and falls through the ice. When she falls through, she meets her own reflection at the bottom of the lake. Her reflection takes her on an amazing, and, at least for the audience, a jaw-dropping experience.

“It’s nothing they’ve ever seen before because it’s on ice,” she says. “They can expect acrobatics on ice, they can expect a deep story line … It’s a story, it’s sport, it’s art, it’s everything.”

Artists and skaters perform acrobatics on the ice and in the air, seamlessly combining multiple disciplines for a world class audience experience. Synchronized skating, freestyle, figure, and extreme skating are featured alongside circus disciplines such as swinging trapeze, aerial straps and hand to hand. The result is an adrenaline-packed show for the whole family that pushes the boundaries and surpasses all expectations.

Stammen trained as a figure skater and it was through Facebook that she learned that Cirque du Soleil was looking for skaters.

“Cirque put out a casting call that went through the figure skating community quite quickly,” she says. “Everyone was really excited that Cirque was making an ice show because they hadn’t done that before.’

After being encouraged by friends, she finally applied and got the part.

That was the easy part.

“We started training for the show last year in June,” she says. “We had a three- or four-month rehearsal period and we’ve been touring since October. When we opened in October the training doesn’t stop. It’s an ongoing process.”

Part of the jaw-dropping part is that it is a high-flying show … literally. Crystal and her Reflection don’t always stay on the ice. The ‘straps’ routines sees them hoisted high above the ice surface for dazzling performances that resulted in more than a few gasps from the crowd on opening night.

Is it scary to be dangling from the rafters of CN Centre?

“I think if you’re afraid of it, you shouldn’t be doing it,” Stammen says of the high-flying part of the routine. “I call it thrilling. It doesn’t scare me, it more just feels like being alive. Everyone’s really smart and safe about what we do.”

Stammen says the 40 performers in the show are one big travelling family and everyone is there to help everyone else.

“It really is a tight-knit community,” she says. “You have to be when everyone’s travelling and you have to be away from your families.”

And even though Stammen, the cast, and crew for Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal have been on the road for more than six months, there is still excitement in the air every night.

“I get adrenaline every show,” says Stammen. “I call it super juice. About an hour before the show you just feel it running through your veins. It never goes away for me. There’s always a sense of anxiousness and excitement.”


Show Schedule at CN Centre – Thursday, April 26 to Sunday, April 29, 2018

  • Thursday, April 26 at 7:30 pm
  • Friday, April 27 4:00 p.m. at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 28 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, April 29 at 1:30 p.m. and 5 pm

Tickets are available for purchase at cirquedusoleil.com/crystal