When Cirque du Soliel’s Iris team performed a show during the 84th Annual Academy Awards function at the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles on 26th February 2012, the anchor Billy Crystal commented that he had a hamstring injury just watching the show for 5 minutes. Wonder what thousands of people who have watched Cirque’s KA at MGM, Las Vegas for whole 90 minutes would have to say?
Our trip to the sin city just did not mean that we were gambling away all our hard earned money. We did go in for some of the best shows that the city had to offer and Cirque du Soleil’s KA was one such grand performance that gets staged in the theatre of the hotel MGM Grand.
It is advisable to get tickets early, not because the show might get sold out but to get the right kind of seat to enjoy this adventure that narrates the story of the Imperial twins and their encounters through ‘KA’, the fire, that along with illuminating the world can even destroy; all through acrobatic performances, thrills and action of martial arts techniques from all over the world, puppetry and multimedia.
When we reached the theatre, we found a group of actors from the team dressed up as villagers guiding the people into the theatre. A little later, musicians and actors appeared on the stage and took their position, some hanging on ropes and already displaying their agility. A little before the show started, the actors performed a small skit that warned the audience that any kind of photography was strictly prohibited and if anyone still insisted on the shots, he or she would be thrown into a well…good warning I would say!
(The Imperial Twins)
(The Chief Archer)
The story is narrated through different scenes that had mind blowing and dazzling special effects along with amazing acrobatic performances by the artists.
The show starts with the twins arriving home with the stage set for their welcome. In the middle of the celebrations, the Imperial court is attacked by a group of archers and the Emperor and the Empress are killed as the twins watch in horror. The twins flee in a boat but the brother gets injured by an arrow and is left behind. The court jester jumps back from the boat to save the prince while the nursemaid leaves on the boat with the princess. Unfortunately a devastating sea storm destroys and sinks the boat. This begins the journey of the twins to unite and restore the kingdom. The ‘storm’ scene is one of the most well made scenes of KA. One will feel that there was a tumultuous sea right in front of their eyes with strong winds blowing and high waves slashing on the boat. With the sailors trying hard to hold on to the mast, the scene is just fantastic as the boat gives up and sinks.
The scene changes to the Archer’s den where celebrations are on for the burning down of the Imperial palace and the stage is set to introduce the death machine that will unleash the destructive power of Fire. The story continues as the brilliant shadow play and the shore scene are brought in as dramatic reliefs.
The story continues as the brother is imprisoned by the archers and the sister is saved by the forest people. The Archer’s daughter falls in love with the prince and sets him free only to earn the wrath of the Counselor’s son who desired her for years. Just as the Wheel of Death (the Death machine) is ready to perform, the Counselor’s army plans to eliminate the Archer’s army and take full charge of the Empire. Some people of the empire who were slaves in the Archer’s army strike back and the battle to win over the lost empire begin and finally the twins return and there is celebration through fireworks.
The music of KA is composed by René Dupéré and is just fantastic as it easily portrays various emotions and moods such as drama, emergency, serenity and passion. Even though the costumes and the backdrop of the story has oriental touches, the music is very African in the sense the use of drums that are popular in music related to wild life hunting, traditional dances of the continent etc. The memorable ones are of course the ‘Storm’ ‘Shadowplay’ ‘Love dance’ and ‘if I could reach your heart.’
(The Twin Brother)
(The Chief Archer's Daughter)
Photo Courtesy: Molly Ancell, Publicist. Cirque du Soliel, (Resident Shows Division) Las Vegas