Cathy Takes a Behind The Scenes Tour of ‘Cirque du Soleil: Quidam’ at Duluth’s Amsoil Arena [PHOTOS]
Stunning, fascinating, amazing, just some of the words I would use to describe 'Cirque du Soleil: Quidam', which was basically a “circus for adults”. 15 semi-trailers carrying equipment, costumes, washers and dryers and 52 world-class performers with a supporting crew of another 50+ descended on the DECC to prepare for 4 shows to captivate thousands of Northlanders. What made it even more intriguing was what was going on “behind the scenes”. Here's a rare sneak peek of life behind the 'Cirque du Soleil' curtain.
The Tour Starts
I'm leaning on a rubberized, rotating stage, the largest of it's kind in the world. Behind me is where the 7 musicians are so they can react musically to the performers every move on stage. Above me you'll notice five lit “tracks”.
The five tracks that loom over the stage, are likened to railroad tracks that trolleys use to move equipment and performers during the performance. The publicist told me it is their hope to use these tracks discretely, while your mind and senses are occupied with the performers on stage. There's never a lull in the action!
Every cast and crew member is represented with the flag of their country. Interestingly, it hangs behind stage at the Amsoil Arena, where only they see it. I think it should be hung where all who attend the show can see it and understand the vast diversity of cultures that work together to create 'Quidam'.
Wigs & Hats
Countless wigs, hats and other costume accessories are repainted, repaired and sometimes replaced so every costume is like new, every show! (so THAT'S how they get the performers to look exactly alike!)
Feeding the Cast & Crew
They have a staff of Culinary Specialists that travel with the performers. Once they arrive at a location, they grocery shop locally. I was told they were excited for the cheese in Green Bay, WI. Their meals are made fresh and each performer is responsible for eating “healthy”. This picture shows that they get treats too, these apples are about to be caramelized!
Keeping it Clean
When the troupe sets up camp, they think of everything, including life's necessities. I was surprised to find out they travel with their own washers and dryers. (They're front load too!!! Lucky!!)
Think about 100+ people “moving” into the DECC and Amsoil Arena. I think the planning that goes into this BEFORE the crew even arrives is jaw-dropping. SOMEONE had to figure out where everything would be housed and make maps and signs and……I'll be in massage if you need me!
This is their make-shift wardrobe area. They have HUGE traveling sewing machines and several seamstresses that travel with the show.
Believe it or not, they actually have more make-up than I do! Each performer is responsible for putting their own make-up on. For some, it takes half an hour, for others, an hour and a half. But, once they have their face on, that's it for the entire show. Only wardrobe changes during the performance.
I’m Ready for the Spotlight
Each performer has between 2 and 7 costumes (with spares)! In Quidam, there are 250 different costumes, 500 costume accessories and between 200 and 300 pairs of shoes. (I am personally running away with them to their next city for the shoes alone!)
Backstage Practice Area
Finally, behind stage they have a mat with acrobatic harnesses set up so they can practice. Here they are playing “catch” with a gal. Remember, when they are performing this during the show, they are in front of thousands, the lights are dim, the music is loud and they are in full costume and make-up. Ha! We think we have stress in OUR jobs!