Cirque du Soleil is set to delight Australian audiences once more as it presents one of its most acclaimed touring shows, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, under the new grey and white Big Top at the Entertainment Quarter – Moore Park (Sydney) from 2 October 2019.
Written and directed by Michel Laprise, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. In this realm set in the latter half of the nineteenth century, reality is quite relative indeed as our perception of it is utterly transformed.
“Ever since my first visit to Australia nearly 15 years ago it has been one of my favourite places on earth,” said director Michel Laprise, Director KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities. “I am thrilled that I can return through the spirit of KURIOS and I hope it will inspire and bring joy to everyone who enters into our special realm of reality under our big top.”
In an alternate yet familiar past, in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination, a Seeker discovers that in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just below the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes. In his larger-than-life curio cabinet, the Seeker is convinced that there exists a hidden world – a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams await.
A collection of otherworldly characters suddenly steps into his makeshift mechanical world. When the outlandish, benevolent characters turn his world upside down with a touch of poetry and humor, his curios jump to life one by one before his very eyes.
What if by engaging our imagination and opening our minds we could unlock the door to a world of wonders? Cabinets of curiosities are the ancestors of museums, also known as cabinet of wonder in the Renaissance Europe. Aristocrats, members of the merchant class and early practitioners of science formed collections of historical relics, works of art or mysterious travel souvenirs or artefacts.
KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production since 1984. Premiering in Montréal in April 2014, the newest big top production to tour Australia arrives with a cast of 47 artists from 17 countries including world-class gymnasts, acrobats, contortionists, hand-puppeteers, yo-yo wizards, clowns, actors and musicians.
The set design of KURIOS puts the spectator in a well-defined place: the curio cabinet of a Seeker filled with unusual objects collected on his travels. Set in what could be called a retro-future, the scenic environment makes several references to the beginning of the industrial revolution during the 19th Century without being tied to that period.
In this parallel reality, it is the steam engine and not the internal combustion engine that reigns supreme. The set evokes the start of the industrialization era, but as if science and technology had evolved differently and progress had taken on a more human dimension.
A fitting tribute to the power of the human imagination, the costumes are the result of a visual exploration of the beginnings of science, of the discoveries and inventions that led to the industrial revolution of the 19th Century – from the steam locomotive to electrical power to electromagnetic waves.
They embody and celebrate the advancements of science, but in an imaginary, parallel world. While the visual references may seem self-evident, the show’s curious yet familiar characters and costumes transport the audience to a time suspended somewhere between past and future, in an alternate reality, as if science had evolved without the internal combustion engine and as if the golden age of the steam engine had continued on, uninterrupted.
KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities opens under the Big Top on 2 October 2019 at the Entertainment Quarter – Moore Park (Sydney); before heading to Northshore Hamilton, Brisbane from 10 January; Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne from 12 March; and Adelaide Showgrounds from 29 May 2020. Perth details to come… For more information, visit: www.cirquedusoleil.com for details.
Image: KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities – photo by © Martin Girard (shootstudio.ca) / Costumes: Philippe Guillotel