Under the Big Top, the vibrant and brightly coloured troupe of performers leap, somersault and pull off stunts that defy the rules of science. While they climb, move through and interact with space and structures on the stage, the seeping light creates an effect of shadow, perfecting the impressive scenography. On the first day of Cirque du Soleil’s BAZZAR in the city, the show proved out to be rich in its spectacular grandeur, extravagance, high-end creativity and nail-biting performances.
Making its Indian debut last month in Mumbai, the Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil brought to city their 43rd original production BAZZAR on Tuesday. Originated on the streets of Canada, this intimate troupe of street artists has brought amazement to crowds for over 30 years now and BAZZAR is homage to their journey. Describe their production, the show director Susan Gaudreau says, “It is a journey into an eclectic lab of infinite creativity where a joyful troupe of acrobats, dancers and musicians craft an awe-inspiring spectacle.”
Although the show might represent a set-up of circus, the BAZZAR is however, in its own way a whimsical universe. Led by a maestro, the artists banded together to reimagine, rebuild and reinvent vibrant scenes in an artistic, acrobatic game of order and disorder. Talking about presenting the unexpected from the expected, Susan says, “BAZZAR is a show created to introduce the brand to audience that are not familiar with us.”
The show features classic acrobatic disciplines like teeterboard, portage, acrobatic bike, contortion, duo roller skate, aerial rope and slackline. With performances requiring such strenuous physical activities, the director confirms that almost 60 percent of the artists come from a sports background such as gymnastics, acro-sports, diving, martial arts and synchronised swimming among others. “We also hire professional athletes to work behind the scenes. We also hire professional athletes to work behind the scenes. The cast of BAZZAR is showcasing a full range of different disciplines including Mallakhamb for the first time,” adds the director.
In addition to the thrilling performances, the bright, colourful and oddly bizarre costumes adds to the remarkable aesthetics of the carnivalesque circus and are a result of a rather intuitive and organic process, which is not limited to one point in time. As the costume designer James Lavoie says, “BAZZAR presented an invitation to design by instinct; to be inspired by everyday life and to trust my gut. ” He also adds that for the BAZZAR costumes, he found inspiration in the works of contemporary 20th century artists, conceptual architectural clothing, and street style. “I am thrilled to share my costumes’ unicity with the Indian audience,” he gushes.
One wonders how difficult it must have been to direct and choreograph a spectacle with such diverse and unique performances that come together to fit the theme.
“BAZZAR is my second production as a director of this touring show and it has a special place in my heart,” Susan smiles. She joined Cirque du Soleil in 2005 as an artistic coach and worked on numerous other productions of the company. It was in 2014, when working on KURIOS – Cabinet of curiosities, she had her first engagement on a Cirque du Soleil show as an acrobatic choreographer. However, designing a show specifically to introduce Cirque du Soleil to a totally new audience was not a bed of roses for her. “It comes with a creative challenge. It pushes our creators to find our essence and articulate it in a way that is universally understandable,” says the director. She further adds that the challenge is always the same, revealing, “to create a show that will be nothing like the audience has ever seen before and we have been successful in this matter for more than 30 years.”
BAZZAR features an international cast of 30 performers and musicians supported by 16 members of the technical team. While the company has been entertaining millions of people for over 30 years in more than 60 countries, it continues to look for new markets and audiences. The team struggled for four years to enter into the Indian market and took two years to prepare this production. “We have been looking at India as a potential market for quite a while now. We wanted to do things right and introduce the brand appropriately to this new audience that was never exposed to Cirque du Soleil before,” confirms the director. Seems like their long term long-term objectives of establishing a strong and lasting presence in India seems to be coming true as after almost a month long stint in Mumbai, the troupe will be continuing to perform in the capital for ten more days....