Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A MultiMedia Tidal Wave

Tonight's the night to experience "A MultiMedia Tidal Wave" - DELRIUM from Cirque Du Soleil is performing here in Nashville at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

The tickets were a Valentine's gift for my wife and a birthday present for myself.

Should be a great night for sensory overload, especially for my wife Becky as she loves the Peter Gabriel, RiverDance type art performances.

Rehearsal Clip

Here's an article from the Tennessean published May 8:

Circus meets arena rock
Splashy, acrobatic troupe puts focus on music with new show

For The Tennessean

So much for the big top.

When the Cirque du Soleil team rolls into town this week, it won't be packing its usual tent. That's because "Delirium," the latest entry in their 13-show repertoire, doesn't depend as much on acrobatics as the Montreal-based entertainment troupe's other shows.

With 540 square feet of massive projection screens and a large cast of dancers, singers and musicians, "Delirium" has more in common with a Madonna tour than it does anything Ringling ever dreamed up.

" 'Delirium' is about music," says Carmen Ruest, the show's creative director and founding member of Cirque (she's a stilt-walker extraordinaire). With "Delirium," "we're exploring a new artistic direction, a new way to entertain."

The show was produced in collaboration with arena rock specialists Live Nation, who approached Cirque execs with the idea last year. Mere months later, "Delirium" made its debut as the Cirque group's 17th production since it was founded in 1984. (The company has 13 different productions on tour internationally, which collectively employ 900 performers; most Cirque shows tour for a decade or more, Ruest says.)

The 100-minute production's storyline centers on Bill, an everyman disappointed by his life, which he sees as dominated by computers and technology, Ruest explains. "So he leaves this planet and goes on a journey into his dream life. All the tableaus in the show are his dreams," she says.

Eventually, Bill returns to the planet -- with the knowledge that he can make his dreams into a reality with support from others. "It's about reaching out and realizing your dreams surrounded by other people," Ruest says.

Ruest says this is the first Cirque production to use actual lyrics to tell a story. (She says former shows have used movement and "invented languages" to tell the story, because they're performed all over the world.) The musical lineup consists of 20 songs -- remixes made from the best tunes featured in other Cirque shows with added lyrics. The vibe, says Ruest, is very percussive -- "a bit hip-hop."

A cast of 45 multidisciplinary artists from 20 countries, including 11 musicians, six singers, 18 dancers, eight acrobats and two actors, inhabit Bill's dreamscapes -- which are presented on a 130-foot, two-sided stage that divides the arena. There are 540 feet of projections -- equivalent to almost four IMAX screens -- showing both pre-recorded and live footage, as well as roll-up screens and scrims that are moved to create new spaces during the show.

It takes a crew of 75 technicians eight to 10 hours to unload and construct the set at each stop, Ruest says. The show requires 130,000 pounds of equipment, including 27 motors that allow actors to fly over the expansive set, which is dominated by performers in constant motion in addition to the action on the towering video screens.

If it sounds like a lot is going on, it is. Ruest says the term "sensory overload" is often used -- aptly -- to describe the experience.

However, she says, "the mission was the same as with other Cirque du Soleil shows: to allow people to get outside of themselves. It gives you a moment to say 'Wow!' "

Ruest adds that despite its concentration on multimedia as star attraction, "Delirium" still includes acrobatic dances as well as classic Cirque du Soleil moves such as aerial tricks and balancing acts.

"There are a few circus acts," she allows. "We are Cirque du Soleil. We could not at this point do a show without acrobatics."

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