Cirque du Soleil, the Quebec group who have permenantly altered the meaning of the word "circus," are ready to premiere their latest creation, Varekai. Performances begin April 14 in Montreal where the new theatrical piece will play through June 2 on the Jacques-Cartier Pier.
Following the Montreal world premiere, Varekai will play Quebec City (June 27-July 14) and Toronto (beginning Aug. 1). Set dates for the U.S. have not been announced, but the currently planned cities are Philadelphia (fall, 2002), San Francisco (fall, 2002) and San Jose (winter, 2003).
The title Varekai is taken from a Romany word meaning "wherever." Using that connection to Gypsy wanderers, the piece follows a young man on his journey through a magical forest filled with fantastic creatures. More than 50 artists from around the world will perform in various circus stunts including Russian swings, body skating and triple trapeze.
Dominic Champagne directs Varekai with design assistance from Eiko Ishioka (costume designer), Stephane Roy (set designer), Nol Van Genuchten (lighting designer), Violaine Corradi (composer), Bill Shannon and Michael Montanaro (choreographers), Francois Bergeron (sound designer), Franci Laporte (projection design), Nathalie Gagne (makeup designer), Andre Simard (aerial act designer) and Cal McCrystal (clown act designer). As Director of Creation at the Cirque, Gilles Ste-Croix is billed as the show's creator.
Other Cirque du Soleil shows are the touring Dralion, Quidam, Algeria and Saltimbanco and the three permanently settled pieces - "O" and Mystere in Las Vegas and La Nouba at Walt Disney World. Cirque du Soleil is on the web at http://www.cirquedusoleil.com. — By Christine Ehren