They're a circus without sawdust, without animals, and often without a recognizable international language. They're Cirque du Soleil, and their latest edition, Quidam [pronounced "key-dahm"] recently toured its way to New York's Battery Park City. Originally scheduled to run through May 18 (after opening Apr. 16), Quidam first extended to June 14, then to June 28, and has now been extended for a final time, to July 5. Tickets for these nine extra performances go on sale May 10, 9 AM (EST), via Admission Network USA, (800) 678-5440.
To herald the opening, RCA Victor released (Mar. 24) a new Cirque du Soleil compilation CD, with selections taken from such Soleil works as Saltimbanco, Nouvelle Experience and Mystere. All the pieces except one ("Entracte," by Benoit Jutras), are by composer Rene Dupere. Composition titles include "Kumbalawe," "Querer" and "Grosse Femme."
The new CD, titled "Collection," is not to be confused with the 1996 CD Quidam, which features pieces specifically from the show about to reach New Yolections on that CD include "Zydeko," "Carrousel," "Steel Dream" and "Rivage."
The disk is also interactive, with photographs, special effects and video footage complementing the music.
* More than 80 percent of the company's performers are found through auditions, the most recent of which were in early February. Franco Dragone conceived and directs the show, which features costumes by Dominique Lemieux, sets by Michel Crete, lighting by Luc Lafortune and sound by Francois Bergeron. Debra Brown choreographs.
Vignettes in Quidam, Cirque's ninth production, are said to include aerial contortion, a man inside a double-metal hoop, and a "Diabolos" (Chinese yo-yo). The production, which premiered in Montreal, April 1996, is apparently quite surreal, a cross between Magritte and Fellini.
"We wanted this production to be more human," said Dragone in a statement. "It transcends the 20th century and marks a turning point. It conveys emotion, but it is also more raw, more intense, more dramatic and more personal."
The large company has a different show in Las Vegas ("Mystere") and, according to spokesperson Marc Thibodeau, are busy creating a second Vegas production, "a watershow." Not only that, Cirque are doing a European tour of Alegria. Andrew Watson serves as Cirque's artistic director.
-- By David Lefkowitz