Ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment you've been waiting for! KURIOUS – Cabinet of Curiosities by Cirque Du Soleil arrives in Brisbane this January 10th 2020.
As a longtime fan of Cirque Du Soleil it was my great pleasure, to once again, have the opportunity to pick the brain of an insider. A man who dwells in a land of make-believe, an entertainment empire known by all as the World's Greatest Circus, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL!
Earlier this year, Jeff LOVARI – Head of Communications was nice enough to answer a few of my burning questions about KURIOS, the 35th production of Cirque du Soleil since 1984. KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities follows the story of a mad scientist known as The Seeker. The Seeker believes in an invisible realm where the impossible is merely a failing of the imagination.
How long have you been part of this travelling circus? I have been with KURIOS since February 2017 so just over two years, prior to that I had the same role with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas for more than seven years, this July was my 10th anniversary with the company.
I am curious of course about Kurios. This particular show first started in 2014, but this will be its Australian premiere. What can people expect? I think anyone who is familiar with Cirque du Soleil should expect the unexpected with KURIOS. There are new acts on acrobatic equipment that was developed specifically for KURIOS that can't be seen anywhere else, and there are lots of surprises and twists to how we've presented more traditional circus acts, so there will be a lot of elements guests haven't seen before in Cirque du Soleil or elsewhere.
Cirque Du Soleil is not just about the fantastic acrobatics and stunts; there is also a large theatre component. Kurios has several interesting characters, The Seeker, Nico, Klara, The Kurios, Jean-Claude etc. Can you tell us a little about these characters and also who is your favourite and why? The world of KURIOS as created by our writer and director, Michel Laprise, begins in the laboratory of The Seeker, this is what the audience will see when they enter the big top for the first time. The other characters inhabit this invisible realm and arrive in The Seeker's world when he opens a portal to their side, and each of these characters opens The Seeker's eyes to seeing the world in a new way. The three primary characters responsible for this transformation, and also for turning The Seeker's world a bit upside down, are Klara, Mr. Microcosmos, and Nico, and their costumes and makeup set them apart from the more human characters. It's difficult for me to pick a favourite but one of the things I love to do when I have the chance to watch the show is to pick a character – not just the main characters but any character who makes multiple appearances throughout the show – and follow that character's story arc. Something as seemingly simple as our Aviator character sitting on stage before the show begins throwing paper aeroplanes into the audience tells you that this character has a playful side and that becomes very evident during his act. Each character is unique and contributes to The Seeker's journey, and they're really fun to watch.
Besides the music, I always look forward to the Aerial acts and the contortionists, is there an act that you have seen time and time again that still gives you goosebumps?
There are many! I always love hearing the audience's surprise in our Russian Cradle act when the catcher tosses his partner for the first time, no one is expecting it and the sound of the reaction is spectacular. AcroNet, Rola Bola and Banquine still always make me clench, well, everything, whenever they do any of their really high tricks. And there are some moments in the show that always give me goosebumps which aren't acrobatic. One is at the end of the Continent of Hands act, the combination of what the artist is doing with the audience's reaction, the lighting and the music gets me every time. The other is a relatively small moment at the beginning of the Aerial Straps act, The Seeker is doing some research with one of his books and he turns the pages a few times, except he's standing a few meters away from the book and when he lifts his hand to turn the page it moves without touching it. For me, it is one of my favourite moments.
To set up and pack up such a large production must require everyone to work together like a well-oiled machine. What has been the most memorable or comical challenge faced by the Kurious team so far? It is exactly as you describe it, a very well-oiled machine. In general, it takes about six days to go from nothing to welcoming our first guests into the big top, and only about two days to take everything down. I haven't been with the show for all their tour so I'm sure there are lots of stories but one of the biggest logistical challenges was our first overseas transfer which was done in early 2018 after we had finished performing in Vancouver, Canada, and had to move everything to Tokyo to begin our performances in Japan. Typically all of our stage and set and equipment travels in trucks but for this, we had to prepare to fly (for some things) and travel by boat (for other things) for the first time. It was an experience! And now we will be experts at it when it's time to move to Australia.
I believe every story has a message or a lesson; what do you think the writer and creators of Kurious hoped to communicate to the world with the Cabinet of Curiosities? Michel Laprise has given KURIOS as its guiding principle the idea that anything is possible. The show itself is set in the Industrial Revolution era, a time when humans were developing new technologies that changed how we light our homes, how we hear music, how we communicate, how we travel, and Michel wanted to take that feeling and apply it to KURIOS. What does "anything is possible" mean to Cirque du Soleil? For us it means there are no limitations to what our humans can do in performance, or what they can do behind-the-scenes to make those performances happen, and we hope that the results on stage of that "anything is possible" ethos will transfer directly to everyone in the seats and that it stays with them long after the curtain call.