A behind-the-scenes look at Cirque du Soleil’s latest production
Behind-the-scenes: What’s going on back there?
We all know how much time goes into creating, well, just about anything – and some days, just getting out the door is a production. So imagine what it takes to put on a spectacular jaw-dropping show like Kurlos: Cabinet of Curiosities. We asked the makeup designer and the artistic director for a sneak peek into how this wildly imaginative production happens night after night and how performers transform into characters.
What Eleni Uranis, the makeup designer, wants you to know
Why makeup is so important: Makeup allows the performers to transform from real people to stage characters and become someone else other than the highly disciplined acrobat that they are – makeup expresses the emotion of the characters.
How makeup design is decided: During the creation of the show, I work closely with the costumer designer and the director to understand the direction they’ve taken, and then I propose different looks for each performer. Once the costume is finished, we present the complete look to the director for approval. Then I create a step-by-step document with instructions, pictures and products to use on how to apply the makeup. My assistants and I teach each performer how to do their makeup: At Cirque du Soleil, all the performers learn to do their own makeup, which takes about 12 hours of practice. At first, it can take a few hours to apply, but eventually, it takes from 30 minutes to about an hour.
The best part of the job: This is my dream job! It can be somewhat scary because sometimes I don’t always know the solution right away _ but at the same time, anything is possible. I get to work with so many talented people that participate in the creation of each production. We touch so many people’s lives when they watch our shows and, for a brief time, the impossible becomes possible.
What Rachel Lancaster, the artistic director, wants you to know
What it takes to make the magic happen: My responsibilities are taking care of everything you se on stage and I have an exceptional team of people to help me. I’m inspired by the people here: From our fantastic site team, our incredible technical team, amazing kitchen team, and the wonderful front-of-house team as well as my fabulous artistic family, there’s a tremendous amount of collaboration. And everyone has a huge role to play in making the small miracle of that day’s performance happen.
What a day at work is like: It usually starts with artistic or acrobatic training around 12;30 p.m., which varies if we have new or replacement artists. Within every Cirque du Soleil show, the goal is to keep refining the performance and to continue to evolve both acrobatically and artistically, as we are always looking to push the acrobatic envelope. Around 5:30 p.m., the artistic team meets to confirm the day’s show version and rotations. This is then communicated to the technical team and the artists. With more than 300 shows per year, almost every role is triple-cast to ensure that we have coverage for every situation. Then we do follow-up from notes on the performance the day before, eat dinner and watch the show.
What’s up for the future? Japan, Japan, Japan! The show is moving to Japan in 2018, which involves a lot of preparation. After that, who knows?!
KURIOS is playing from October 19th to December 31st under The Big Top at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver. For more info, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios