It’s hard to top the creativity of a Cirque du Soleil show. The acrobatics and feats of the human body alone are quick to desensitize audiences to anything less than extraordinary. Mix in the imagery, the technology and the showmanship and the biggest—and perhaps only—competitor Cirque du Soleil has is itself. Yet they continue to innovate, inspire and redefine, so it should be no surprise (yet it always is) that on the year of Cirque du Soleil’s 30th anniversary that the 35th production since 1984 would be among one of the most remarkable. KURIOS – Cabinet of curiosities roars into Toronto on Aug. 28 and the buzz around the show could alone fill a big top.
The interest has already been so strong the show extended its run before it even launched in the city, adding nine additional performances in Toronto through Oct. 26.
Kurios chases the essence of what Cirque du Soleil has always been about—discovery and the opening of our minds to new possibilities. Set against a timeframe of the 19th century, when innovation and discovery were everyday occurrences, we follow “the Seeker,” who is on a quest to discover a hidden world where the craziest ideas and biggest dreams are not only possible, but where they also come to life.
With a canvas that hefty and wide open, it makes sense that it’s led by an artist of Michel Laprise’s caliber and diverse talents. Laprise is both the writer and director of Kurios. While a Cirque veteran, this is his first foray in the director’s seat of a major Cirque production - but it's not by chance. From major stage shows to the Super Bowl halftime show, Laprise was also the main creative drive behind Madonna’s MDNA tour. His approach with Kurios is just as big and bold, but also with the introspection we’ve come to expect from Cirque du Soleil.
“We were born in the streets, a place where you have to catch the attention of people by doing something very unusual, surprising and captivating,” Laprise said in a recent interview given to AXS.com. “It had to be something generous so afterward the audience would feel generous in return. So we challenged ourselves.”
Laprise also noted that like many shows, the sensations and interactivity are all encompassing and go beyond just the stage. With musicians and characters performing literally on the big top during nicer days, it prepares the audience before they even hit the door of the unusual and unexpected places this show will take them. And as audience members enter the big Chapiteau, some of them will have the chance to walk on a bridge that is suspended above the stage.
Laprise understands the expectations that come with a Cirque show, but is also grounded in the wonderment that basic simplicity can evoke, and he uses it to his advantage in Kurios.
“We are playing with the fantastic and we all know that to create fantastic you need to first establish a credible environment so then you can play with some element of this environment. All magicians know that to make people believe in a trick you need to use objects of their everyday life, a cup, a hat, a chair because they know how these things are and behave. In Kurios, we established a credible reality and then we play with it with effects of proportions, points of view or gravity references. The enthusiastic reaction of the audience confirms that it was the right way to go.”
The show runs in Toronto’s Port Lands until October 26, 2014 before taking off to San Francisco this winter. Get your tickets here.