This engagement marks "the 25th anniversary of the first visit of Cirque du Soleil in New York," according to production notes. "The love affair with New Yorkers started under the big top with Cirque Réinventé. Totem marks the 11th visit of a big top show. Since its world premiere in 2010, Totem has visited over 16 different cities in four different countries and performed in front of close to 2 million spectators, and to great critical acclaim."
Totem, the international troupe explains, "traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, Totem illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend, Totem explores the ties that bind man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential."
The cast of Totem comprises 52 performing artists from 19 countries.
Lepage is an acclaimed multidisciplinary artist — a theatre director, playwright, actor and film director — known for creating arresting images on stage. Lepage also created Cirque du Soleil's Kà (2004), and also created and produced Geometry of Miracles (1998), Zulu Time (1999), The Far Side of The Moon (2000), a new version of The Dragons' Trilogy with a new cast (2003), The Busker's Opera (2004), The Andersen Project (2005), Lipsynch (2007), The Blue Dragon (2008) and Eonnagata (2009). Robert Lepage also wrote and directed Le Confessional, Polygraph, Nô, Possible Worlds and a film adaptation of his play The Far Side of the Moon. He also directed The Metropolitan Opera's The Tempest and Wagner's Ring cycle. In 2009, he received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for his outstanding contribution to Canada's cultural life.