The world’s most fabulous performance company Cirque Du Soleil is returning to Brisbane this April with their visually stunning production Totem. Created in 2010 by by Robert Lepage , the touring production has been a massive hit in Europe and North America and has just enjoyed a successful season in Melbourne where it played to rave reviews. The Brisbane season will open on 10 April and will return to Hamilton’s Northshore which has previously hosted other Cirque productions in years gone by. As with all Cirque Du Soleil productions, Totem is larger than life and presented on a scale that no other show could rival. Check out some of these fascinating facts that will ensure Totem will be the Biggest show Brisbaneites will see in 2015!
On an island evoking the shape of a giant turtle, Totem traces humankind`s incredible journey – from our original amphibian state to our ultimate quest for flight. Along the way, it also explores our dreams and infinite potential, and the ties that bind us both to our collective animal origins and to the species that share the planet with us.
With scenes from the story of evolution randomly linked together in a chain, Totem returns to the beginnings of organic life in the primordial ooze. Featuring Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, primates and men in suits, among others, the show depicts a world of archetypal characters who, in their own way, witness and act out the perennial, existential, questions of life.
Alternating between primitive and modern myths, and peppered with aboriginal stories of creation, Totem echoes and explores the evolutionary process of species, our ongoing search for balance, and the curiosity that propels us ever further, faster, and higher…
Totem marks the second collaboration of world-renown Director Robert Lepage with Cirque du Soleil, following KÀ presented at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV since 2004.
Since its Montreal World Premiere on April 22, 2010, Totem has been performed more than 1,600 times in 28 cities across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States.
To date, more than 3 million audience members have been mesmerised by a performance of Totem.
The production features a cast of 46 acrobats, actors, musicians and singers from 17 countries (Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States).
From a technical standpoint, TOTEM is considered Cirque du Soleil`s first hybrid production as it can be performed in both indoor amphitheaters and under the blue-and-yellow big top, without requiring significant changes to the set and equipment.
Kym Barrett’s initial approach to the TOTEM costume designs was rooted in documentary-based reality. This process entailed research into real animals, plants and birds as well as traditional cultural and tribal designs to source her fanciful, inventive concoctions.
Her other major preoccupation was the show’s theme of evolution, which led her to emphasise the importance of the human body at every opportunity. She points to the example of a forest populated by butterflies and frogs, saying it was important to her to show the human body as part of the overall visual mosaic of the scene.
The third show theme reflected in the costumes is the cycle of the seasons, which underscores the importance of nature to the show. Neon-bright colours, vivid, shiny fabrics and playful details lend a summer atmosphere to the Bollywood-inspired beach scene. To suggest a time of harvest and the abundance of fall, the unicyclists’ costumes feature seed pods, flowers, trees and leaves. And the two roller-skaters are dressed in white and silver to help create a winter tableau.
To recreate such a broad range of textures, colours and markings found in nature, Kym concentrated on the treatment of fabrics rather than on the fabrics themselves: advanced printing techniques, fluorescent pigments, mirror fragments and crystals allowed her to “paint” on canvases as varied as Lycra and leather, with results that constantly interact with and adapt to the show’s ever-changing lighting.
A Village On Wheels
Cirque du Soleil’s mobile village includes the Big Top, one large entrance tent, the artistic tent, a kitchen, offices and more. Completely selfsufficient for electrical power, the site relies only on local water supply and telecommunication facilities to support its infrastructure. The site takes eight days to set up and 3 days to deconstruct and includes the installation of the Big Top, entrance and artistic tents, box office, administrative offices, and a kitchen and dining area for the cast and crew. A total of 85 sea containers are used to transport close to 2,000 tons of equipment that Totem carries around. A few of these containers are used as storage spaces and workshops.
The Big Top stands 19 meters high, 51 meters in diameter and is supported by four masts, each 25 meters tall. All up, the Big Top seats more than 2,600 people and requires a team of approximately 85 people to raise it.
Cirque Du Soleil’s Totem opens 10 April under the Big Top at Hamilton’s Northshore. Tickets are available now via www.cirquedusoleil.com
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