Courtesy of Al Seib
Brightly colored stages, flying acrobats, live music and outlandish costumes might open up a world of imagination for audiences as the Cirque du Soleil show “Quidam” opens in Columbus.
“Quidam” is scheduled to be performed 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Nationwide Arena.
Cirque du Soleil is world-renowned for the quality of high-performing acrobats and the visuals of the different worlds each show portrays through costumes and stages.
JosÃ©e Campeau, cello player and original “Quidam” band member, said “Quidam” takes on a dream-like state, as the plotline surrounds the imagination of a little girl who plays the main character.
“I really like how the show is built,” Campeau said. “I don’t have a favorite part of the show exactly, but I do have some acts that I really like. I think overall the atmosphere of the show is very dreamlike and whimsical.”
Rehearsals and creation for what is called a big top show begins with a selection of acts between three and five years in advance to try and look at the framework for a new show.
The creators also keep an eye out for new acts and acrobats around the world to incorporate into the performances. About a year prior to the show opening, the company holds rehearsals and starts training in Montreal.
“Quidam” was transformed into an arena show about two years ago, Campeau said. This required the show to go through some transformations, such as cast changes and a new rehearsal period to adjust to the new settings.
Each Cirque du Soleil show has a distinct character, and the creativity in the acts and performances can be seen in any of the shows, Campeau said. The context and the storyline are also different because sometimes there isn’t a prominent storyline, depending on the show.
The show has a live full-cast band including vocals, cello, violin, guitar, drums and keyboards playing together. The band also gets assistance from computer software to produce sounds and loops that are played at a lower volume underneath the band’s instruments. The audience will hear about 90 minutes of music being played continuously throughout the show by the band, and Campeau said it takes a lot of practice to play an instrument that long.
“It’s not that hard to play that long when you are musicians and you train and you practice, but it requires a lot of discipline if you want to perform well and feel good with what you do for the audience,” Campeau said.
Campeau has been performing with the company since the mid-1990s.
“It was a dream for me to work with the company,” Campeau said. “I started in 1996 when I heard through friends, that were also musicians, about auditions for the company.”
Campeau earned her bachelor’s degree and her master’s degree in chamber music interpretation at the Montreal Music Conservatory. The classically-trained cello player said working for Cirque du Soleil took her down a different career path than she had planned.
Jessica Leboeuf, the show’s publicist, said there are several different layers to the background and the storyline of “Quidam.” She said audience members will walk away from the show with a sense of human connection.
“People will leave the show with very different experiences,” Leboeuf said. “Some will just come and be amazed by the acrobats and the visuals of the show while others will see the messages about organic connections between human beings and letting strangers into your life.”
Another message in the show is the main character’s transition from girlhood into womanhood.
Compared to other shows that have a fantasy setting, all of the creatures in “Quidam” have human-based characteristics.
The settings and characters of the show have some students feeling curious about the show.
Emily Hagenmaier, a fourth-year in chemistry, said she hasn’t seen Cirque du Soleil perform, but has heard of it.
“I’ve heard they are pretty intense,” Hagenmaier said. “I’ve never been, but it seems interesting and I would like to see it sometime.”
John Hardie, a fourth-year in strategic communication, has seen Cirque du Soleil before and said he’s a fan.
“I know that they are all over the world and you should see them as much as possible,” Hardie said. “I’ve seen a few and I can’t think of something I didn’t enjoy. They are all different shows but yet are similar at the same time.”
Hardie hasn’t seen the latest from Cirque du Soleil but has heard the show is great to watch.
Tickets, priced from $35 to $95 are available through Ticketmaster.