I have been hesitant to start the clown page on this site because of a huge hole in my research about a duo of clowns that performed during the first North American tour. Luckily today I learned the name of one of the performers, Alexey Mironov! Hopefully this knowledge will lead me to information on the other performer. You can visit his website here: http://www.mironovcomedy.de
I came across this article from the Calgary Herald about Cirque du Soleil headquarters. I found it very interesting as the writer gives a glimpse to a place that is almost always closed to the public. Also, Lisa Maree Skinner, former fast track performer is mentioned to be training for Quidam’s arena tour. It looks like she’s training for aerial hoops.
“I think I had an opinion of the circus as many other people do,” says the 29-year-old with a laugh, relaxing after a training session that found her suspended eight metres above the ground on a spinning metal hoop. “It was animals and carnies and things like that. It was never part of my life plan. Cirque approached me a couple of times, but the first time in 2000 I still didn’t know much about it.”
Sorry it has been a few days since my last post.
If you would like to read part one, click here.
Continuing with Skidmore’s thesis, he brings up the fact that in Quidam there is use of a birdcage. He considers this a link to the previous production, Alegrîa. With the red ball enclosed in the birdcage, it is a signifier that the ball represents a theme in Quidam (this object is threaded through the entire show in different forms like balloons, juggling balls, etc.). Also, with the family stuck in their own world, you could say that they are in their own birdcage. Something Skidmore does not mention that I think also connects the two shows is the sound of birds the bowler hat emits when Zoe holds it to her ear.
Another very important observation is the fact that the acts can be divided into two types. Those that expressed the internal emotions (German Wheel, Aerial Hoops, Aerial Contortion in Silk, Statue, etc.) and those that represented childhood playground games (Diabolos, Skipping Ropes). The audience witnessed the parents struggling with emotions while also experiencing Zoe’s childhood innocence.
Source: Skidmore, Jamie. A Critical Analysis of Cirque du Soleil: 1987-2001. University of Toronto, 2002.]
Coming up: Les Macloma
One of the few things I saved when I saw Quidam in 1998 was their merchandise catalog! I’ve scanned some of the pages so you can get a glimpse of what they offered 12 years ago. As you will see, some things, like the diabolo, are still available today. Occasionally you can find these items on ebay (that’s how I got ahold of the Alegría Puzz 3-D).
In a previous post I mentioned how there are occasional little coincidences with Cirque du Soleil that have occured over the years. I could almost say this wasn’t a full coincidence since I was attending school in Montréal (Cirque du Soleil headquarters are in Montréal) at the time, but while walking to the practice rooms at the music school, I came across this advertisement with an image of Ella Bangs as Zoe was posted up on one of the bulletin boards. Since there were two, I couldn’t help but take one. This advertisement is outdated though since they were/are looking for someone 18 or older to play the role due to arena tours lacking a traveling school.
While working on my master’s degree in music, I took advantage of the many resources at my fingertips. When I needed a break from usual studying, I would see what I could find about Cirque du Soleil. One of my favorite databases that I had access to was ProQuest. It is mainly a electronic archive of dissertations and theses from universities all around the world. There are actually a few written about Cirque du Soleil. The one that caught most of my attention was a Ph.D thesis written by Jamie Skidmore at the University of Toronto entitled, A Critical Analysis of Cirque du Soleil: 1987-2001. In his thesis he looks at all of the Cirque du Soleil shows from Cirque Reinventé to Dralion to bring attention to symbols used in the New Circus genre.
Some of these themes you may already be familiar with. I feel, however, that for the sake of the site I will reiterate the more commonly known ones so that they are documented.
Starting with the subject of their Mise-en-scène Quidam he first discusses the Telepherique and how it allowed seamless transitions between acts. He felt that the show contained the most cohesive Mise-en-scène of any cirque show because a central theme, the freeing of emotions, held a strong line that the audience was able to follow throughout the show.
He of course brings up the subject of René Magritte’s paintings that were a big influence on the show. Particularly the painting that portrayed a man in a suit with a bowler hat with his head obscured. Naturally, this is apparent with the character of Quidam being a headless man carrying an umbrella and a bowler hat. He believes that the bowler hat symbolizes a mind full of ideas. So when Zoe places it on her head she is transported to a place full of new ideas and thoughts. He also claims that the Teleferique itself is in the shape of a bowler hat. Although it is shaped in a curve, I do not see that connection. As for the umbrella, he brings attention to the fact that at the time, an umbrella was used in every show. In addition to following that tradition, he suggests that Quidam carried the umbrella to protect himself from becoming “clean” and another face in the crowd like the Chiennes Blanche (the silent chorus-the anonymous crowd in white sanitary jumpsuits). A very interesting theory.
There are also the possible allusions to the Wizard of Oz. In the transition to German Wheel after the Petit Salon scene, John puts on the father’s shoes. This suggests that Zoe represents Dorothy. What further reinforces this idea is that the Diabolos are dressed as “tin men.” Since the tin man was in search of a heart, it is fitting they would choose such costumes to follow the thematic search for emotion and passion.
To be continued…
[Source: Skidmore, Jamie. A Critical Analysis of Cirque du Soleil: 1987-2001. Univesity of Toronto, 2002.]
New dates were announced today for Quidam’s Arena tour. They are as follows:
Reno, NV - May 4, 2011 to
Ontario, CA - April 27, 2011 to April 24 2011
Long Beach, CA - April 20, 2011
San Francisco, CA - April 6, 2011 to
San Diego, CA - March 30, 2011 to Aptril 3, 2011
San Jose, CA - March 24, 2011 to March 27, 2011
Everett, WA - March 16, 2011 to March 20, 2011
Vancouver, BC - March 9, 2011 to March 13, 2011