We saw Cirque du Soleil’s newest show “Kooza” at the beginning of this month and thought it was great. You’ve probably heard similar reviews in the press along with those from fellow bloggers like Richard and Vanou. In my opinion it’s the best one yet. Quite similar in style and format to Quidam, but with something a bit more spectacular in almost every routine and act. As I wrote a year ago, I thought Corteo was the best one yet. And I do still think it is an excellent show along with Alegria and Quidam. But I feel this one is better. My wife and my father both think it is one of the best of the Cirque du Soleil show. And they have each seen more of them than I have.

Though, I may not be very impartial, because I had a hand in the show. Our office was mandated to verify the stage, grandstands, and two-story bataclan scenery structure that moves back and forth during the show. This now makes the fourth stage structure that I’ve worked on and it is interesting how it unfolds from our viewpoint.

First we are given the basic form with the structure. We basically perform our verification with this information. You have an idea of the shape, but it is on paper and just black and white with no ornamentation. You also have an idea of how it functions if it is required to move, but again it is only on paper.

Next, the structure is built and assembled in the fabrication shop. Now you can see how it looks in 3d and usually can see how it functions. Often some of the ornamentation has been added and likely some color. But it is basically either a static structure or something with a mechanism. So it may move back and forth or even rotate. But you still have no idea of how it will be utilized artistically during the performance.

Occasionnally we are able to see either what it looks like in it’s final location like under the bigtop or it’s appearance with all of it’s color and ornamentation. Again, there is still that missing link of what place it has during the show and how do the artists interact with it.

So to finally see it in the show, seems to add another aspect to the enjoyment of show. “Ohh, that’s what that is for.” Elements that you have been looking at over the progress of the project finally take life. They are almost another performer on the stage. It’s a feeling of pride and gratification even if it’s a small aspect of the overall project. We didn’t create the forms, that’s what the people at Cirque do. We just make sure the performers are comfortable with the stage (not too bouncy) and that they don’t break through it while performing their routines.

Though I haven’t had the opportunity to follow all the shows to this conclusion. There are a couple in Vegas (Ka and Love) that I haven’t seen yet. And we passed on Delirium when it was here. Maybe one day we’ll see them.

It has really been interesting working on these projects with such an interesting client. Luckily, this will continue including a new show “Wintuk” that will be opening next fall in New York City. So far, it looks quite interesting. But it is only at that first stage.


~ by Frank on May 30, 2007.

2 Responses to “Kooza!”

  1. Did you work on the Ka stage? Because, trust me, that was amazing, both artistically and architecturally. It’s my favourite so far, with O and Quidam close seconds.

  2. For the Vegas show, it has generally been bits and pieces. Like for Ka, there were the tree-like structures and some sort of caterpiller type structure hung from the structure above. There were also some elements downstage where they have some sort of hand-to-hand combat which takes place.

    For Love, we did work on modifications to the existing theater along with some overhead catwalks. We also verified the bed that is raised into the air.

    For Quidam, which was before my time, our office worked on the overhead stage structures.

    I’ve also worked on the camera supports on the masts which appears to have become standard for the travelling shows.

    I’d really like to get out to Vegas sometime. Partly to see the Cirque shows and partly to just experience what that atmosphere is like. I guess I’ve been watching too much CSI.

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