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"] is touring its way to New York, with a Battery Park City opening date set for April 16.
Originally scheduled to run through May 18, "Quidam" has already extended to June 14. Tickets for the new block of "Quidam" tickets go onsale March 1 via Admission Network USA, (800) 678-5440.
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 (of The Publicity Office), 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.
Those hoping to run off and join the Circus can audition for Cirque du Soleil in early May. Dancers and singers are sought, as are "physical actors and characters," athletes and acrobats. Those interested should -- before March 28 -- send a resume and photo (and audiotape for singers) to Cirque du Soleil auditions, 8400, Second Ave., Montreal (Quebec), H1Z 4M6, Canada. For more audition information, call (514) 722-5255.
-- By David Lefkowitz