We saw Cirque Shanghai at Navy Pier a few days ago. It was a Chinese circus show with a lot of great acrobatic performances.
I enjoyed it. For my son, since he was a little tired, the performance was long to him. If I recall correctly, the show lasted for about 1 hour and half.
Growing up in rural Ji Village, once in a while, there would be travelling troupes performing kung fu and acrobatic stunts in the village. They would first beat gongs and drums to get villager’s attention. When a sizable crowd gathered, they would start performing, usually at the square in the middle of the village, with somebody collecting money from the audience during and after the show. I don’t think they earn much. Some kind villagers would offer the troupe a meal. I only remember one performance, where a small monkey was involved with some stunts. Not sure how old I was then, but I had a secret crush with a young girl about my age in the troupe for quite a while.
I also remember I saw a couple of puppet shows growing up. When the artists or troupes are here, all the children are excited. I think most adults are excited too. For adults, once in a while there are travelling story tellers in the village. Performance usually starts after dinner. The story tellers, sometimes a couple, do some singing with Er Hu (二胡) and/or Yang Qin (杨琴) first, then proceed with that night’s chapter of the story. The story is delivered in different ways: singing, speaking, accompanied by traditional music playing. You can get a very good glimpse of those travelling artists’ livies from one of my all-time favorite movies, To Live. It takes days, sometime weeks, to finish a story. I remember a blind couple story tellers who stayed in my village for at least a few weeks. The stories are mostly traditional Chinese classics, such as 水浒传 or 三国演义.
Anyway, I recommend the show highly if you are interested. Here is the URL to Navy Pier, where you can find the link to Cirque Shanghai performance. The run will be over by the 3rd of September.
Here are a few more pictures. More pictures can be seen here.