Cirque du Soleil started out in 1984 with 12 performers who were keen to change the scene of circus performance. The Company has taken the genre and transformed it almost single- handedly. Since then it has become one of the biggest success stories of shows that have taken the world by storm. What is even more appealing is that Cirque Du Soleil reinvents itself every few years with new shows to surprise, tantalise and amaze.
So this is some advance warning of the arrival in Brisbane of Cirque Du Soleil's new show KOOZA- combining two of the Company's early traditions of acrobatics and clowns. KOOZA comes from the Sanskrit word "Koza" which means box or treasure chest - suggesting that some of the magic will be like a jack in the box. I love the fact that each time they produce a new show they are as innovative as the first, building on cultures and people and human endeavour. There is inspiration in Alice in Wonderland and Indian trucks and Sanskrit words, Mad Max movies and the painter Klimt. It makes you want to see the show just for the sheer joy of seeing how the costume designer Marie Chantale Vaillancourt brings this all together.
The main character is a highly stripey fellow called Trickster who bursts onto the stage in front of the Innocent. The Innocent is exactly what his name says he is innocent, and a bit naive and he has much in store for him from the Trickster and his pranks. The Innocent sets out on a journey and along the way he meets entertaining characters - the King, Heimloss, The Obnoxious Tourist and his Mad Dog to name a few.
The Big Top goes up near Sky Gate at Brisbane Airport ( near DFO) Thursday the 24th of November and it will be in town until January the 8th. The big top is fully air conditioned, and the perfect place to enjoy a show on a hot summer's evening which will leave you breathless, on the edge of your seat, and totally amazed.
I had the opportunity to hear how much work goes into preparing a big show for the road with 80 large containers being shipped across the world, 120 artists and many more contributors and family members travelling with the troupe. The costumes are all hand stitched and individually prepared and now technology like digital photography is being employed to ensure that they are prepared to the exact measurements of the performers in the workshops in Montreal. There are 175 costumes and 160 hats, over 1,000 items for this one show.
The hats are custom made with the help of a digital printer with each performer's head measured by a portable scanner. There are some 17 different nationalities participating in this show and that is a hats off to diversity and inclusivity!
The performers themselves are all highly accomplished and it was a great pleasure to meet Lisa Skinner, an Olympian, but also Brisbane born and bred who has joined the show and will be performing to a home audience. Lisa who looked resplendent in her outfit and makeup said she was more nervous about performing in front of her family than for large audiences but she also eloquently explained the difference between competing and performing. "In competition you strive to be the best you can be but in performing it may not be perfect but you need to bring in the audience and be able to do so, night after night". This takes a true professional and an accomplished performer and Cirque Du Soleil is full of these talented and flexible people. I say flexible because you will be wowed with acrobatic feats from aerial hoops to high wires, to contortion and unicycle duos.
It is not just the show that is on offer this year. Cirque Du Soleil have put together some exciting tours which add even more to the experience.
The Behind the Scenes Experience
Small groups are taken around the Cirque Du Soleil City, and behind the scenes. They are offered a VIP experience with free parking and canapés prepared by Caxton Street Catering to match the show - yes the canapés are made to match the colours and character of the spectacle. There is an open Bar with wines and beers and an allocation of the best seats in the house. At intermission guests will be able to try some of the most delectable desserts prepared especially for them and are also given a gift back to take home.
Sounds like the perfect Birthday experience on offer this summer. The VIP experience - will provide a similar experience with canapes and drinks.
Kooza Lounge - options for food and drinks for a fun night.
Group bookings which can be tailor made.