Cirque du Soleil returns to Detroit in December 2016 with OVO, its newest touring show in arenas. The production will be presented at Joe Louis Arena from December 22 to December 25, 2016, for six performances only, as part of a global tour in arenas around North America. The show is presented by Visa Signature® in association with Flex Perks Rewards and US Bank.
OVO, meaning “egg” in Portuguese, is a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement.
The cast of OVO is comprised of 50 performing artists from 12 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts, and the Michigan Chronicle has a backstage pass via Michelle Matlock who plays “Ladybug” in OVO.
Native from Seattle, Matlock graduated from the National Shakespeare Academy of New York where she studies classical Shakespearean acting. In 2001, Matlock developed a solo show, The Mammy Project, which explores the stereotypes and myths that the “mammy” figure has had on contemporary American culture. In a one-on-one she shares what inspires her as a performer, her past projects and what to expect in Cirque Du Soleil OVO:
Michigan Chronicle: What inspired you to pursue a career as a performer?
Michelle Matlock: At the age of seventeen I was cast in a Jeff Bridges Film and that opportunity gave me the confidence and money to major in theater at Western Washington University, which eventually led me to study acting in New York at the National Shakespeare Conservatory. Had I not been cast in that film right before going off to college I probably would have majored in communications.
MC: What inspired your solo show “The Mammy Project?”
MM: In 2003 I was asked to audition for an Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix commercial. I went to the audition and didn’t get the gig (thank God!). I realized that I was angry about being called to try out for it. I couldn’t believe that this was happening in the new millennium. I didn’t understand why I had so much anger and why white people had so much love for this stereotype, icon, myth and why didn’t they acknowledge how offensive it was to African Americans. I decided to research how this all came about, and I found Nancy Green who was the first to play the role of Aunt Jemima back in 1893. I also discovered Halle Q. Brown and Ida B. Wells who were both a part of starting the civil rights movement during that same year. I was never aware of their stories, so I decided to write a show about it focusing on Nancy Green. Education about this subject dissolved my anger and allowed me to stretch as an artist.
MC: What should Detroit expect from your character’s performance and the OVO show?
MM: My hope is that Detroit will experience something original and fun while watching the character of Ladybug. OVO is an amazing spectacular full of colorful costumes, unbelievable human tricks, and energizing music. My advice is to check your adult brain at that door and just come and have fun!
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/ovo