Friday, 13 March 2015

Cirque Du Soleil Totem Review Plus an Exclusive Behind the Scenes Tour in Melbourne...


The Cirque Du Soleil needs little introduction; it's a mammoth production company producing superb shows recognised worldwide for their high class and unique performances which feature some of the world's most talented singers, dancers and acrobats.

Originating in Quebec in 1984 from a group of just 20 street performers, today this phenomenal stage experience has grown to become an international hit with a company of almost 4000 employees, including 1300 performers from close to 50 different countries around the world.

Totem is the Cirque Du Soleil's latest show touring Australia and it is currently visiting Melbourne until March 29.

Written and directed by Robert Lepage, this epic study of the evolution of man from the dawn of time to our ultimate (continuing) pursuit of the sky, is a magnificent creation to experience and one which was three long years in the making: Two were spent in the planning and design stages and the final year was dedicated to training and rehearsals.

Into space with some extraordinary acrobatic work set against a celestial backdrop.
*Publicity image supplied courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil.

The superb Totem stage and set transforms itself magically throughout the show into an ocean, a desert and a moonscape and interacts with the performers to add an unusual ethereal quality. Scenes projected onto this stage are shot at locations around the world specifically for this purpose.
*Supplied image courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil's publicity.

Totem, with its talented multidisciplinary cast, combined with a sound and light extravaganza that appears to effortlessly transform its magical set, is like nothing you will ever witness elsewhere on stage. This mesmerising Cirque Du Soleil show is capable of lifting its audience right out of reality and sending its viewers into a dream-like state for over two hours - it's one not to miss.

The unicycle act - totally mesmerising. *Supplied publicity image courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a very special experience with the Cirque Du Soleil, post show; an opportunity to tour backstage and meet the cast. Naturally, such a brilliant offer was well received;
having never experienced a Cirque Du Soleil show, we were very keen to become acquainted with this international sensation.


Meet some of the cast who greeted us on arrival backstage:


Seeing these performers in their full makeup and dress in this everyday setting was fantastic. The fantasy of the show was still fresh in our minds and the reality of their dazzling look was so intriguing to take in, in the natural light. The intricate attention to detail in the incredible costumes was there to be examined up close and it was quite breathtaking.

We were amazed at the different nationalities represented by this small group of artists and were offered insights into their backgrounds as to how each of them came to be a part of the huge Cirque Du Soleil family.



This particular costume is dazzling on stage under the lights. It is made of jet black fabric and features hand placed mirrors and sequins. This talented acrobat spends much of the show upside down, suspended from the roof of the Big Top.


The show's lead singer displays her cloaked dress with its magical design which blends into all
of the different sequences throughout the show.




These exotic looking performers are part of a team of unicyclists who took part in one of my favourite acts in Totem. All of the Cirque Du Soleil's performers are trained in the art of make up application and are responsible for applying their look before every show.



The rear of the costumes and headdresses up close - nothing is overlooked and there are so many hours of skilled handiwork apparent.





A collection of props from the show. Above first image: The bowls which are balanced delicately on the exotic girls' heads. Image two: The tall bamboo unicycles they ride and (image three) corn-covered headpieces from Totem await their next show.


We were surprised to discover that backstage under the Big Top is mostly space devoted to a huge gymnasium for warm-ups, practice and post show cool-downs. Here, a session post-show is underway in full theatrical makeup.

Our tour guide for our behind-the-scenes experience with Totem was Francis Jalbert, the Cirque Du Soleil's Tour Publicist. Here Francis shows one of the latex masks worn in the show. The mask was moulded to fit its wearer's head and represents over 50 hours of intricate work, having had each individual hair hand threaded.



Each of the costumes worn in Totem are designed by Kym Barrett - the Hollywood costume designer behind The Matrix movies. Here Francis explains how all costumes for the show are manufactured in Montreal and every part is hand done; cut to fit the performer precisely. The fabric is individually designed and painted. Even the shells on the costumes are crafted; moulded from polymer by hand.

Wardrobe essentials: Sequins, cottons and other haberdashery travel with the show for repairs.

Trunks full of fabric swatches from Montreal - every performer has spare fabric in here
 in case of urgent repairs being required.

Drawers and drawers full of makeup supplies...


Costumes are laundered after every show and hung to dry in the wardrobe department. Wherever the Cirque Du Soleil travels, they employ three locals to manage the show's laundry loads. Some of it is hand washed but many items are washed in machines which also travel with the show.

The Cirque Du Soleil is a fully self sufficient travelling production (even down to generating their own electricity supply) and only connect to the local water service wherever they are stationed.

We were so honoured to be a part of this backstage experience and wish to thank the
Cirque Du Soleil's Totem team for this wonderful opportunity.

 
Catch the Cirque Du Soleil's Totem in Melbourne before the season ends on March 29
at the Flemington Racecourse.
Further tour details and ticket information can be found on the Cirque Du Soleil website.
Or call 1800 036 685 (12pm - 10pm Monday to Friday) for ticket purchases.
Totem plays in Brisbane from April 10, Adelaide from June 11 and Perth from July 31, 2015.
 
*Disclosure: Six Little Hearts were guests of the Cirque Du Soleil for this backstage experience
and received tickets to Totem in exchange for this feature.
All opinions expressed are those of this blog's Author.
All photographs are protected by Copyright and may not be reproduced without permission.
 
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29 comments:

  1. WOW! What an amazing experience. Looks like an awesome production.
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

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    1. It truly was Leanne - I would have to say it was a blogging high point for me.

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  2. That would have been so great! I loved the show. Cirque is the one show that we blow the big bucks on for the whole family every time. It never disappoints!

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    1. The shows are wonderful! I can't believe I have never seen one before but I guarantee I will be from now on.

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  3. I've never been but have only ever heard rave reviews. What a fantastic opportunity to go backstage Jody! I'm not surprised it originated in Canada. That country has produced some amazing things. I wish I didn't live in whoop whoop and they were coming here. A fantastic post showcasing the costumes with great photos!

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    1. I agree, so many good things come out of Canada. This was a fantastic opportunity and I loved every minute of it.

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  4. What an awesome thing to do to go behind the scenes like that. I was lucky enough to take the kids to see Totem in Sydney and man it was an awesome show and I loved watching my boys take it all in - they were flabbergasted xx

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    1. I know - I would have loved to have taken my kids but sadly we're almost out of time now. The show was sensational and pure escapism.

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  5. Wow, what a great opportunity! I can imagine those shows are amazing. I cannot imagine how much work goes into every part of a production like that.

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    1. I had never thought about the extraordinary amount of time and effort that goes into something like this before - so worth it though, it was just wonderful.

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  6. I've never been either but I did once get mesmerized by a documentary that went behind the scenes. What an amazing experience for you!

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    1. I may have seen that before too. I have seen the Cirque on TV before but I assure you, it's something to see live to feel the electricity of it - wonderful. I hope you go one day - bucket list it!

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  7. This looks amazing!!! And what a wonderful experience to go backstage!! I've got a hard-to-buy-for person at the moment so this would be a fantastic gift - thanks for the inspiration

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    1. Be sure to gift yourself a ticket too though - Feel free to buy me a ticket too - I'd love to see it again! x

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  8. What a production! Imagine being part of something that amazing! All those Mac lipsticks too! I would be in heaven :)

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    1. Oh god Grace - I nearly died when they opened those makeup drawers to show us - I could have just moved in backstage and immersed myself in all of its awesomeness! MAC are their official makeup suppliers.

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  9. Looks incredible! I've never been to a cirque de soleil before - but have always wanted to.

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    1. You must get yourself to one at some stage - you will love the experience.

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  10. What a wonderful opportunity! I love Cirque - haven't seen Totem but have seen a lot of the others. I love the behind the scenes shots.

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    1. Thanks Christine - it was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Totem is fab so if it's touring near you, check it out.

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  11. I would dearly love to see another Cirque. I saw La Nouba in Orlando and was totally in awe of the show. Not only is the performance fantastic, the music, the costumes and make-up are just world class. You are truly lucky to have gone backstage, thank you for sharing such fantastic photos! x

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    1. Thanks Hun! The show you saw sounds wonderful. I will definitely be visiting more Cirque Du Soleil shows in future. I am hooked now! x

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  12. OMG this looks like such a fab show! The costumes and head-dresses are amazing... what an opportunity to go backstage!

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    1. It was swoon-worthy and honestly, I am not a swoony type but I really loved this world-class experience. The costumes were sensational...

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  13. Looks fantastic. I would love to case this when it comes to Perth.

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    1. Do go and see it. It's something that I will always remember too.

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  14. Oooh the backstage bit is so cool. I'm sure the whole thing is magical but how exciting to check out the costumes too. Are you sure they are real people? I think it's far more likely they are fairy creatures.

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