Cirque du Soleil brings back the fun
The circus is back in town! Cirque du Soleil’s performers are returning to the Big Top at Montreal’s Old Port — and fans eager for live family entertainment are quickly snapping up tickets. Nearly 50,000 have already been sold for the show Kooza, whose production goes back to the Quebec-based circus’ acrobatic and clowning roots.
Running from May 12 to Aug. 14, 2022, the show will feature a mix of quirky and riveting characters such as the Trickster, the creator of the Kooza world, The Innocent, and the bumbling King. The show’s physically demanding sequences will capture kids’ attention and likely impress adults.
Remember to breathe as you watch artists balance atop a 23–foot tower of chairs, wonder “how DO they do that?” as the human pyramids grow higher, and be amazed by the contortionists, hoops, and double high wire acts. And make sure not to take your eyes off the 1,600-pound Wheel of Death as it rotates at heart-stopping speeds, powered only by two artists who leap and counter-rotate in a death-defying display of fearless acrobatics and teamwork.
“This show as a whole brings us closer to the simplicity and humanity of an earlier circus—and closer to the audience,” says Serge Roy, creation director. “It reminds you of street performance. It’s a mixture of acrobatics and clowning that is really rooted in circus and in the origins of Cirque du Soleil.”
The staging of Kooza — a word deriving from the Sanskrit Koza, which means box or chest — brings a deeper meaning to its production and explores strength versus fragility, turbulence and tranquillity.
“KOOZA is about human connection and the world of duality, good and bad,” says the show’s writer and director David Shiner. “The tone is fun and funny, light and open. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s very much about ideas, too. As it evolves, we are exploring concepts such as fear, identity, recognition and power.”
Six musicians and two singers will accompany the performance with live music and song. At 39 feet rather than the usual 30 to 36 feet, the Kooza stage is the highest ever designed by Cirque du Soleil. The extra space conceals the hydraulics for the imposing Jack-in-the-Box, which leaps dramatically six to seven feet in the air. The circular stage provides the audience with excellent sightlines through 260 degrees.
“I wanted to capture the essence of circus itself by creating a scenographic environment that offers true proximity to the audience and where the danger is palpable—a scenic space in which everything is done out in the open with simplicity and transparency, where even the acrobatic equipment, the structure of the big top and the orchestra is in full view,” says set designer Stéphane Roy.
The original production of Kooza had its world premiere in April 2007 in Montreal, and has since played in more than 65 cities in 22 countries, and has been seen by over 7.5 million people.
Run time for the performance is two hours and 10 minutes, divided into two 50 minute-long acts plus a 30-minute intermission. Note that while the show is meant for all ages, there are some moments of loud noises and darkness that may frighten some children.
Tickets are available at cirquedusoleil.com/kooza