By Stan Ashbee
It is said curiosity often kills the cat but isn’t being curious how humans sometimes learn, while delving into the unknown abyss of wonder and amazement?
Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities, Cirque’s 35th production since 1984, is the best production yet under the Big Top and is on now in Calgary at Stampede Park until May 24.
It is simply absurd, unique, spellbinding, mesmerizing, bizarre and a tad bit creepy but a must see for any Cirque-lover out there. It is truly top-notch entertainment for the whole family.
From the moment you step into the traditional circus tent, you are transported into a surreal world of steampunk inspiration meets acrobatics and innovation. The show has a cast of 46 artists from 15 different countries, which includes one of the 10 smallest people in the world (3.2-feet tall and weighing 39 pounds). The Kurios set design and props make this production a gazillion steps above the rest.
Audience members observe on the stage the unusual objects in one of the character’s curio cabinets collected during one of the eccentric’s travels.
As the media release states, Kurios is set in what could be called a “retro-future.” The production’s set designer stated in the release, “It’s like Jules Verne meets Thomas Edison in an alternate reality, out of time.”
Props include gramophones, old typewriters, electrical bulbs, turbines and a giant mechanical hand automaton that weighs 750 pounds.
There are 426 props used in Kurios, the most of any show in Cirque du Soleil’s history.
Even more fascinating than the actual live show is what goes on behind the scenes.
As for the production’s logic-defining costumes, there were more than 100 costumes created to dress the cast. Also, all clothes that touch skin are said to be washed every night. It apparently takes two people — two hours, six days a week for a total of 24 hours of laundry per week.
Transportation-wise, close to 65 trucks transport close to 2,000 tons of equipment. The show boasts 109 tour members plus 150 local staff.
As for Cirque’s Big Top experience, the mobile village is completely self-sufficient for electrical power and the site relies only on a local water supply and telecommunication facilities to support its infrastructure, according to the media release.
The site takes six days to completely set up and two days to tear down. The Big Top stands 62-feet high and seats approximately 2,700 people and requires about 50 people to raise it.
If you haven’t been to a Cirque show — now’s the ultimate chance.
The following is Cirque trivia: In 1984, only 73 people were employed by Cirque and today, the company hires close to 4,000 employees worldwide.
Another interesting note mentioned in the media release is Cirque hasn’t received any grants from the public or private sectors since 1992.
Kurios is a Cirque-tacular once in a lifetime celebration of the odd, weird and misunderstood.