Kurios, Cirque du Soleil Latest Production
By Annabelle Marceno Pericin
Photography by Brian Wong
The iconic blue and yellow Big Top made it’s annual appearance at San Francisco’s AT&T Park for the U.S premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s latest show sensation Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities . Kurios officially opened in November 2014 through January 2015.
Celebrating it’s 30th anniversary and 35th full scale production, Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities takes on a distinctly steampunk theme. Inspired from the latter half of the nineteenth century when railroads made travel more accessible, and inventions like the telegraph improved long-distance communications, Kurios focuses on machines while recent Cirque shows have focussed on nature.
Reality is Relative
Reminiscent of how Jules Verne imagined the early 1900’s, Kurios is about an ambitious seeker who invents a machine that defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. A collection of otherworldly characters from another dimension steps into his makeshift mechanical world and interacts with him and pays tribute to the power of the human imagination. Kurios explores the question, “What if by engaging our imagination and opening our minds, we could unlock the door to a world of wonders?”
Ode to the Big Top
Created and directed by Michel Laprise, Kurios is a series of circus acts flawlessly performed and celebrates the power of the imagination while the steampunk setting and costumes create an atmosphere that mixes the thrill of the new with nostalgia for the past. Assorted acrobats, jugglers and dancers arrive by steam train through the audience while passing both planets and earthly landscapes. Kurios remind us why Cirque du Soleil’s reinvention of the circus experience as theater is still popular. Laprise is best known for his recent collaborations with Madonna, providing artistic direction for her 2012 Super Bowl appearance,and directing her popular MDNA tour.
Behind the Scenes
The Kurios cast consists of 46 performers from 13 different countries and brings the show to life on the stage night after night. “This is my family away from home. When I’m with my family at home, I miss my Cirque family,” shares Russian contortionist Imina Tsydendambaeva. Iminina has been with Cirque du Soleil for four years. She started circus school when she was seven years old and joined Cirque du Soleil when she was 21. “When my coach showed me the dvd of Alegria and Quidam, it was my dream to be part of Cirque du Soleil,” says Imina. “I worked hard to make my dream come true”.
Costume designer Phillippe Guillotel created over a hundred costumes for the cast. He used modern materials to 3D printing to create volumes that seem heavy but are in fact as light as they are tough and durable. Julie de Carufel, head of wardrobe, explains, “For instance, we use carbon fiber because of its durability to look like metal and to keep the costume wearable. Using objects as costumes and the costume as an object is part of the show. We develop new fabrics so each show can be renewed and offer something new”.
The wardrobe tour staff consists of three and has to know a little of everything from costume, makeup, shoes, props and hair. de Carufel shares, “Costumes are made in Montreal from scratch and made to measure for each artist then sent on tour. Because we deal with acrobats, when they train, their body mass changes. They can gain or lose muscle mass. Our job on tour is to adjust the costumes, to maintain them and take care of them”.
de Carufel studied theater design before joining Cirque du Soleil and has been with Cirque du Soleil for six years and Kurios is her second touring show.
New to the show, Kurios has a new invention called an Acro Net. You realize that this is not a safety net but really a giant trampoline. It amplifies all the normal effects of a trampoline. The Acro Net bounces the trampolinists so high that at the very top they seem to be floating weightless in mid-air while performing acrobatic moves.
Kurios had been hailed as a classic. Check our their website to see the remaining cities and dates for their North American tour.
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes, one intermission
Tickets: $45-$270, www.cirquedusoleil.com