Presented by Cirque Du Soleil
April 6th thru May 21st, 2017
Sam Houston Race Park - Houston, Texas
CONTORTION. Four deep-sea creatures that embody electric eels inside the Seeker's cabinet come to life in this stunning, fast-paced and fluid contortion act. The wriggling artists execute a series of incredible pyramids and figures at an astonishing pace using the Mechanical Hand as a platform. KURIOS is showing from April 6 thru May 21, 2017 at Sam Houston Race Park at 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston Texas 77064 USA.
KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities
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, invisible 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 in an attempt to ignite the Seeker’s imagination, 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?
ABOUT THE SHOW KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production since 1984. 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 has a cast of 46 artists from 16 different countries. About 60% of the artists have already worked with Cirque du Soleil before.
NICO. The perfect handyman, Nico is a little shy, a tad awkward, and extremely sensitive. Nico’s accordion costume allows him to bend way down or stand way up so he can be at eye level with absolutely everyone. KURIOS is showing from April 6 thru May 21, 2017 at Sam Houston Race Park at 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston Texas 77064 USA.
ROLA BOLA. A fearless Aviator who happens to be an expert in the discipline of rola bola makes a soft, graceful landing in his small propeller plane, which he will use as a platform. Balanced on his impressive, tottering structure, the artist and his cylinders and planks rest on a platform built into a trapeze Washington. The suspended apparatus moves up and down and swings in a long pendulum motion an incredible feat requiring an extraordinary sense of balance. KURIOS is showing from April 6 thru May 21, 2017 at Sam Houston Race Park at 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston Texas 77064 USA.
KLARA. Klara can receive alpha waves by turning on her heels and pointing her hoop skirt in various directions. She has a language of her own and symbolizes our obsession with telecommunications during the golden age of the railroad when the telegraph and the gramophone were invented. KURIOS is showing from April 6 thru May 21, 2017 at Sam Houston Race Park at 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston Texas 77064 USA.
UPSIDE DOWN WORLD. Dinner guests are stunned by the telekinetic powers of one of their table companions who can make a chandelier suspended above their heads move. Another guest challenges him by piling up chairs in an attempt to reach the chandelier. All of a sudden, the group realizes that their exact double exists in a parallel universe right above them where the same scene is unfolding…upside down! KURIOS is showing from April 6 thru May 21, 2017 at Sam Houston Race Park at 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston Texas 77064 USA.
MR. MICROCOSMOS. An authority figure, Mr. Microcosmos is the leader of the group. This serious chap is the embodiment of technological progress; his world is sturdy and evokes the steam train, massive building structures, the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais. This is man as a microcosm, running on his own steam and traveling in his own self-contained, self-subsisting ecosystem. Full steam ahead! KURIOS is showing from April 6 thru May 21, 2017 at Sam Houston Race Park at 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston Texas 77064 USA.
ACRO NET. Above a vast ocean, underwater creatures pirouette, bounce and rebound on a net that covers the entire stage. Their street-style performance is mixed with pure trampoline techniques. KURIOS is showing from April 6 thru May 21, 2017 at Sam Houston Race Park at 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston Texas 77064 USA.
THE KURIOS. These quirky, imperfect and dysfunctional robots are products of the unbridled imagination of their creator.
10 CURIOUS FACTS ABOUT THE SHOW
• To make the Accordion Man’s attire, the costume-maker spent an entire week sewing inside the costume.
• Rima Hadchiti, the artist who plays Mini Lili, is 3.3 feet tall and weighs 41 pounds. She is one of the 10 smallest people in the world. • The mechanical hand weighs 750 pounds and measures 15 feet by 6.8 feet.
• More than a hundred costumes were created to dress the cast of KURIOS. • There are 426 props in the show, the most of any production in Cirque du Soleil’s history.
• Some 65 trucks transport close to 2,000 tons of equipment for KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities.
• The 122 tour members come from 23 different countries. Some have been touring with Cirque du Soleil for more than 15 years.
• This is the first time that Cirque du Soleil presents a welcoming act on top of the big top before the show starts. When weather permits, 3 artists climb up the big top and greet the guests from above while playing music and acting. Guests get a taste of the KURIOS experience as soon as they enter the site.
• It took the team of props makers approximately 250 hours to build Mr. Microcosmos’ round belly.
• All performers are responsible for applying their own make-up every show, which can take them between 40 minutes to two hours.
The set design of KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities 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. “It’s like Jules Verne meets Thomas Edison in an alternate reality, out of time.” explains Set Designer Stéphane Roy. 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.
AN ALTERNATE POETIC REALITY The performance space is dominated by two structures called “cabinets;” one explores the topic of sound and the other, the topic of electricity. Built by the Seeker using scraps and pieces collected over time, the two large towers also serve a “wave sensors” made from miscellaneous components such as gramophones, old typewriters, electrical bulbs and turbines. In actual fact, these objects were salvaged from junkyards then dismantled, amalgamated, given a patina and joined together using tubes and pipes. The two cabinets are attached to the main arch – another wave sensor – that dominates the stage. The opening at the center, at the back of the stage, evokes the mouth of a railroad tunnel through a mountain; it is mainly through this opening that artists move in and out of the spotlight and that equipment and props are taken on and off the stage. The show is a tribute to imagination and curiosity. This makeshift mechanical world celebrates the coming together of pre-existing objects. “All these objects – the bugle, the typewriter – come with their own history and it is from their association that a new meaning emerges,” says Roy. “Further proof that the who is greater than the sum of its parts.”
THE MECHANICAL HAND A huge steampunk-inspired mechanical hand appears during the show either as a character or as a performance structure. Operated by two artists using a pedal and gear mechanism, the all-fiberglass hand is an automaton built from various parts that look like wood, metal, marble and iron. In the Set Designer’s mind, the Seeker built the hand with rare objects collected on his travels: a wooden finger found in Sienna during the Renaissance, a nail picked up in a Greek temple, and so on. The mechanical hand is a paragon of the DIY (do it yourself) ethos and evokes the richness and the materials from the era of the greatest scientific discoveries. It is on this hand that the contortion act and the “Hands Continent” scene unfold.
AUTO-NOMOUS STRUCTURES For greater emphasis on the performance, every act in the show is presented on an independent structure – a module or a promontory – integrated into the set design. The stage was lowered 14 inches and a bank was installed all around the stage (the bank is a 23-inches-wide raised walkway on which two rails are installed for transporting various props). Presented on their separate, distinct structures, the acts in the show represent the curios that jump to life inside the Seeker’s workshop. During the Russian cradle duo act, for instance, a giant leather chest opens up to reveal, encased in sumptuous Moroccan cushions, two characters that look like mechanical dolls. Another example: the aerial straps artists perform on a gigantic “drop of mercury” made entirely of fiberglass and covered in silver leaf.
A “REAL” IMITATION WOODEN FLOOR Building the stage floor presented a real technical challenge. To create the impression of a real wooden floor, a 3D finish was produced. Silicone was poured onto century-old planks of wood to produce a mold into which varnish was poured. A total of 26 coats of paint and clear varnish were applied alternately to give the wood its rich finish.
SET DESIGN CLOSE-UPS
• The train in the “Chaos Synchro” act extends out from Mr. Microcosmos’ costume over a distance of 62 feet. The train’s structure is all aluminum and the outer shell is made out of a mostly vinyl canvas. Fiberglass mosquito screen was used for the windows.
• Standing 11.5 feet tall, the Seeker’s chair is decorated with recycled pieces of metal.
• The hot-air balloon used in the “Hands Continent” scene is made of fabric and has a built-in blower system. It serves as a projection screen 14 feet in diameter. The gondola is made of metal and tulle.
• The turbine at the back of the stage behind which the musicians are installed is made of thermally molded plastic over a metal structure.
• The tarpaulin at the back of the stage is made of 2231 square inches of fabric that was given a patina.
• The stage floor is composed of 160 independent panels.