— Cirque du Soleil
The big top: that is the only similarity between
a conventional circus and Cirque du Soleil. A ringmaster in glittering
tuxedo and top hat, red-nosed clowns larking around in baggy trousers
— forget all that.
When Canadian accordion player, stilt walker and
fire-eater, Guy Laliberté created the Circus of the Sun (literal
translation) in 1984, he reinvented entertainment under the big
top. Using his organizational skill and his great gift for bringing
people together, he turned a band of dynamic street entertainers
into a unique and innovative form of circus, one with considerable
international appeal and success.
In 1997 Laliberté was presented with The
Ordre National du Québec, the highest distinction awarded
by the Government of Québec. The the director, Franco Dragone
has received three Obie Awards [Off Broadway Theatre Awards]. René
Dupéré the composer's score for the current show,
Alegria 2, has reached platinum-level sales twice in Canada.
Beyond generating sales revenue for the troupe,
music is crucial to the performances. "The musicians not only
contribute the music. Our rhythm must be precise because the artists
depend on us for their cue, we can't miss a beat," says accordion
player, Suzie Gagnon.
That injury is almost non-existent in a show that
features daring aerial feats has a great deal to do with professionalism,
and practice - but does circus camaraderie play a part too? Is the
circus one big happy family?
"I would describe it as a large, and sometimes
dysfunctional family,” says Montse Moré, marketing
manager of the circus. “After all, we are from seventeen different
countries, possess different talents and come from different backgrounds.
To give you some idea, we have a casino dealer, a kick boxer and
a car sales man in our troupe. Some performers come from traditional
circus families and some were born on tour so touring is the only
life they know. What is normal and what is not normal is very relative
in the circus world. Having said that there is a very strong sense
of group since we all depend on each other one way or another".
Alegria 2 is a powerful, engaging story. Visual
effects, acrobatics, music, dance and dramatic characters in flamboyant
costumes weave an imaginary tale of the transference of power over
the centuries, a tale of beggars and kings. The beak-nosed, hunch-backed
Fleur guides us through this world carrying his lighted sceptre,
and humouring the old birds that hover around him.
The challenges of putting a show on the road are
many. One of the main challenges is how to technically produce what
is in the imagination of the creators in such a way that can be
"The most challenging is how to keep being
creative enough to continue surprising the audience," adds
The circus has maintained that power to surprise: over seven million
people around the world have seen the show.
Until September 25 at
New Big Top, Nanko, Osaka
Time: Sat-Wed: 12:00, 4:00pm, Fri: 19:00
Close: Thu and special days
Getting there: Cosmo Square station (OTS line)
Entry: Adults ¥5,500 / ¥9,000 / ¥11,500,
Children ¥3,500 / ¥5,500 / ¥7,500
(12 years and under)