Cavalia: Odysseo

WARNING: This post is going to contain spoilers for the Cavalia: Odysseo show. If you have even the tiniest inkling to go see it for yourself, quit reading here. It is a show that’s meant to be experienced in person, not read about! However, I felt the need to share about how awesome it was!

I made brief mention a week or so ago that a friend had gotten us tickets to Cavalia in Boston. I was beside myself with excitement, but kept it under wraps a bit because my life can be tricky and get in the way of my fun! However, Friday the 6th dawned and after work, I was Cavalia-bound!

For those unaware, Cavalia is a horse-centric play of sorts that showcases incredible horsemanship and riding. I wasn’t able to see the previous tour of Cavalia when it was at Suffolk Downs in Boston about eight years ago, but according to friends, this go-around had much more “circus” like attributes — dancing, acrobatics, music, ect. It is truly a show to experience with all of your senses and it appeals to horse lovers and theater lovers alike. It has been the topic of conversation at work since it opened late last month in Boston, and I could not believe I was going to get to see it!

I worked for most of the day like a squirrel on crack — an ill-timed coffee plus excitement made for a fidgety day. I was also braindead that morning, and left both my debit card (okay, whatever, I can get a check to myself cashed) and my LICENSE (dear Christ on a cracker do I own a brain!?) sitting on my counter at home. I changed into slightly dressier clothes at work and flew out of the office at around 3:30. I drove like a bat out of hell back to Framingham, and then down to the other end of the state to pick up my friend M. M and I met in a fairly odd way…we actually grew up about 5 minutes from each other in the same town. However, I didn’t actually meet her until late last year. We became friends on Facebook through a mutual high school acquaintance in 2010, quite a few years after we had both graduated high school. We are similar people, in a lot of ways, and when I realized that she was the one with the pretty buckskin gelding down the road, I about had a fit. If only I had been brave enough to knock on the door and introduce myself! The adventures and horsey fun we would have had together! Of course, we joke now that if we HAD been friends as kidlets, we would have wreaked all sorts of havoc on the little town of Blackstone, Massachusetts!

After I picked M up, I fought traffic all down the highway into Boston. Now, if we’re being technical here, the tent wasn’t really in Boston — it was in Somerville. However, from the direction I had to come from, I had to drive through Boston (dun dun duuunnnn!). I’m a Massachusetts girl, born and raised, but I have avoided driving in Boston like the plague. I swore up and down that I wouldn’t drive anywhere NEAR Boston, because it is terrifying and I would prefer to stay alive, thankyouverymuch.

Well. I drove in Boston. No one died and I didn’t hyperventilate. I may have white knuckled it the entire time, but I only made one wrong turn, and only almost got hit once. I would consider that a success!

Of course, all of the tension from Friday afternoon traffic and driving in Boston melted away when we pulled up!

*insert loud girlish squealing here*

M had managed to score us super fancy VIP tickets. Now, this meant that we got special parking, a special side building specifically for VIP ticket holders, dinner beforehand, free drinks (helllooo wine!), awesome seating, dessert at intermission, free GORGEOUS program, and a stable tour after the show. So, we were ushered into the VIP parking. Once the car stopped, M and I turned to each other and had a little squee fest. We got to pretend to be rich and classy for a whole night! It was exciting!

After a quick trip to the ladies room, we entered the VIP “lounge”. We ooh’d and aah’d appropriately, before grabbing something to eat. I’m not sure either of us were too focused on the food…once we had wine in our hands, we were exploring the boutique in the middle of the room. There were your staples: hats, shirts, sweatshirts, ect. I wanted one of each. There were also horse products: hoofpicks, brushes, coolers, saddle pads, and exercise sheets. I also wanted one of each of these. They also had DVDs and CDs (I broke down and bought a CD after the show!), and some VERY nice jackets. Not to mention the plethora of adorable Douglas stuffed animals and pretty jewelry! Of course, this being what it was, everything was insanely expensive. I managed to only walk away with a wind jacket and the soundtrack to the show, so I’ll consider myself lucky. I could have easily spent a paycheck or two in there without missing a beat!

It wasn’t long until the call came that the show was soon to start. Commence another squee session! M and I grabbed our complimentary popcorn and headed out to the arena.

Now, when I said we got awesome seating, I wasn’t kidding. M had managed to get us two front-freaking-row tickets. Like, front row, front row. NO one in front of us front row. I about died of excitement right there.

My feet are just out of the shot. RIGHT. THERE!! No, I wasn’t supposed to be taking pictures. Shh!

Then it started.

I could easily give everyone a blow-by-blow account of how this show went down. Honestly, though, the magic wasn’t in the pieces of the show: it was how the pieces came together, entangling with one another to create an absolutely enchanting experience. I think I hit upon every positive emotion in the book at least once. I left the show feeling completely awestruck, not only at how breathtaking the show was, but also at how HAPPY they all looked. Riders, acrobats, dancers, singers, and horses alike — everyone was clearly having a complete and total blast. I will touch on some of my favorite parts of the evening:

  • The very beginning act had me in tears. Honest to goodness, makeup down my face, needed a tissue tears. I left the “cry over everything” part of teenager-dom a long time ago, but the simplistic beauty of one woman, singing in a language I couldn’t quite identify (I think it was Italian?), with a herd of horses gallivanting around her made my heart burst with emotion only a horse person would understand. 
  • There were people on boingy-springy-stilt things. DO WANT. WILL PROBABLY KILL SELF BY ACCIDENT BUT DO. WANT.
  • I was not prepared for the very…um, very nice looking men bare chested men. Now, being in the front row means I got to see a LOT. Like every. single. muscle on these guys. They were doing back flips and making human pyramids and dancing like crazy. I wanted the horses, but I could have taken one of them home too.
  • I’m not one to be super impressed by acrobatics, but I REALLY enjoyed the stuff they did at Cavalia. It could be because it was so saturated with horses, but the way these people navigated rings, poles, and long silks like they were nothing had my jaw on the floor. A lots of acrobatics included a horse component, which gave it an entirely different feel.
  • The music was all live. The singing was also live. I am a sucker for a woman with a good voice and she did not disappoint!
  • Trick riders hanging off the sides of horses galloping at mach ten. ‘Nuff said.
  • The set was IN-FREAKING-CREDIBLE. The actual arena was dirt, and then along the back, they had built it up so it was a rather impressive hill. The back wall was a huge screen, where projectors showed scenes that ranged from the forest, to the African Serengeti, to the night sky with shooting stars…it really transported you into the moment and made the entire thing seem MUCH bigger.
You can see the screens through the “trees”.  More sneaky pictures!
  • I was REALLY happy to see horses that were concentrating but not cranky. Nothing had more than a snaffle in his mouth (all geldings and stallions), and some were ridden bitless, and a few even bridleless. All had protective boots on as well. All the horses looked awesome, in great shape, and like they were loving every second of what they were doing. In fact, I got a little nervous a few times that we were going to have horses bounding over the barrier into our laps! A couple of super feisty Arabs who were rough housing and not paying attention to where they were going nearly collided with the barrier, too. It was awesome to see them having so much fun!
  • The use of language was really cool. I wasn’t sure what language was being spoken most of the time, but I didn’t hear English used once during the show.
  • One of my other favorite acts was probably the end act. All of a sudden, as most people were watching a horse and rider duo up on the hill, back lit by the screens, I noticed that the arena in front of me was…glistening? They had started to fill the bottom of the hill with water. The screens turned into a beautiful waterfall setting, and a small, shallow pond filled the bottom of the arena. The horse and rider performed a beautiful series of dressage movements, before being joined by the entire cast of performers and horses. The trick riders galloping through the water misted us a bit…so freakin’ cool!
I’m leaving out SO much, but there really was just so much to experience that can’t be put into words. Needless to say, there was a standing ovation at the end. M and I really couldn’t say much outside of “did we really just get to see that?!”
The night ended with the stable tour, which was honestly uneventful. The Cavalia horses are so used to being stared at, that they were completely unenthused with our presence. Due to very practical reasons, we couldn’t touch the critters. The horse woman in me understood why — the potential to spread disease or something of the sort was far too great. The five year old in me threw a silent temper tantrum…and sneakily stroked the shoulder of a kind eyed Lusitano gelding. I suck at following rules, apparently.
Completely bored with the whole thing. Cuuuute critter, though!
We sashayed our way back out to my car, where M posed playfully with the pictures hanging on the walkways. We were both overtired and giggly at this point, as it was after midnight. It’s good to have the excuse of being 22, sometimes — I’m not one to be silly like that too often, but at least it’s still socially acceptable!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a story of mine if I didn’t nearly destroy something in the process. Now, to set this up, I have hood pins on my Chevy Prizm. The person I bought my car from (my best friend from high school) smushed the front end in a fender bender. It would have been stupidly expensive to replace the latch on the hood on an older car, so her father put in hood pins. They look ridiculous, but it’s a good conversation starter! Anyway, now that you know that…
I went to back out of the parking spot, and realized something was amiss. There was a bright yellow, plastic chain that was dividing two rows of parking spaces. It seemed to be following the hood of my car. I stepped on the brake. I concluded I was just seeing things. Slowly, I eased off the brake and gave the yellow chain the stink eye. It continued to follow the hood of my car. Damn. It.
Laughing, I clambered out of the car, followed closely by M. When I realized that, oh dear god, it really IS stuck on my frigging hood pin, I nearly had to sit down on the ground from laughter.
M and I had to wrestle with it a bit to get it unstuck, but it eventually slid off of the pin. I left without damaging any Cavalia property, but only just barely. At least it wasn’t a horse!
I didn’t get in until after 1 AM Saturday morning. I didn’t fall asleep until after 2 AM. I woke up on Saturday, thinking it was 10 AM-ish. 
It wasn’t. It was nearly 3 PM. Thank God I didn’t have anything planned!
Cavalia was 100% worth it. I am so, so, so glad to have had the chance to see this for myself, and to have had a “first class” experience along the way. I am incredibly grateful for M — if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have gone. She tolerated me and my social ineptness with grace and kindness, and we even made each other laugh quite a few times. Hopefully, she and I will get to ride together someday in the very near future!
TL;DR version of everything I just said: GO SEE CAVALIA. 

3 thoughts on “Cavalia: Odysseo

  1. Aoife September 10, 2013 / 12:19 pm

    What a wonderful way to spend the evening, the water thing at the end sounds amazing. Actually the whole thing sounds epic, no wonder you had such a great experience!
    Shall have to keep my eyes & ears open to see if it's likely to tour near us…probably not though, 😉


  2. Amanda September 11, 2013 / 1:03 pm — they're in major cities on each coast, by the looks of it.

    It really was a fantastic night. I am so, so glad I got to go…I have some REALLY awesome friends 🙂


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