Cirque du Soleil wants to once again challenge your imagination and transform your perspective with its new show, Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities.
While audiences are always amazed at the performances on-stage, we want to take you behind the scenes to learn seven secrets of how the production is created.
Let’s start inside the main tent.
Secret No. 1: If the stage seems low, it is. Kurios has the lowest stage of any Cirque du Soleil production.
The director wanted the stage to be as close to the audience as possible, explained Cirque du Soleil/Kurios publicist Amelie Robitaille.
While this stage doesn’t move like some Cirque stages, the outer ring does have a track where props will move around the stage.
Setting up this production is a fast task. It's all done in six days.
Secret No. 2: Those interesting props/curiosities on the shelves next to the stage aren’t fancy creations from the Cirque du Soleil masters in Canada. They’re actually items bought at antique stores and junk yards, then adjusted for the show.
“If one breaks, we just go shopping,” said Robitaille.
Secret No. 3: There is an 8-person live band for the show that performs right on the stage. The drummer is on one side of the tunnel where the performers enter, the percussionist is on the other side.
The singer, guitarist, violinist, accordion player, cellist and the band leader are on the level above the tunnel.
Now, let’s go behind the scenes, to the backstage area and the other tents.
Secret No. 4: The technical team and the performers each have their own tents backstage. In the technical tent, you’ll notice all the road cases are color-coded.
The yellow boxes are for props, the blue boxes for rigging, the black boxes are for sound, the gray boxes for lightning, the purple boxes for automation and the red boxes are for carpentry. You’ll notice many of the cases become table tops and work spaces to save space for traveling.
The performer’s tent has rigging and apparatus for training and practicing, an area for massage and injury treatment, wardrobe and makeup.
Secret No. 5: When the performers are off-stage, they’re watching the show at the portable tapis rouge (red carpet).
Here they can watch what’s happening on stage for their own cues and the shows are recorded so they can review their performance and timing.
Notice, the green boxes under the couches? The couches are all in road cases for easy packing and moving.
Secret No. 6: While the performers have help with their wardrobe, they have to apply their own makeup.
"It takes 40 to 75 minutes," Robitaille said. However, she said as the show continues week-after-week, the performers are getting faster at applying the required makeup.
As for wardrobe, there are three people on tour with the show and four more are hired at each stop to help with washing and ironing the costumes, which is done every day. While the costumes are made in Montreal, the traveling crew handles repairs and adjustments on the costumes and even painting or waxing the shoes.
There are 120 different looks in the show and more than 1,000 different pieces when you add up the costumes, ties, gloves, etc…
The wardrobe crew even has a color-filled thread box any amateur seamstress would love to have.
Secret No. 7: It takes a village to put on this show.
There are 109 workers, from 21 nations, who travel with the show. Another 150 people are hired at each stop to help with box office, merchandise, security, wardrobe, janitor work, concessions and the employee kitchen.
The employee kitchen and dining room is created by putting four semi-trucks side-by-side. Three chefs travel with the show and they hire prep cooks, dishwashers and others locally to help.
While they cook for very fit performers, not everything in the kitchen is diet food.
"We offer a lot of deliciousness and desserts," explained kitchen manager Paola Muller. "We offer options for everyone."
Muller said the items she orders the most of are chicken and bananas.
"We go through a lot of bananas," Muller said. "Athletes eat bananas constantly."
Sundays is a special day behind the scenes. The families of the workers are invited to eat Sunday brunch and their children are allowed in the performers' tent to play with their parents on the apparatus.
Cirque's Kurios team is scheduled to perform at the Pepsi Center from June 11 to July 26. Learn more about the show here.
Check out more of our secrets of Colorado stories: