With the smell of popcorn in the air, a deathly silence falls over the audience as an acrobat is catapulted 30ft into the air, followed by thunderous applause and sighs of relief… and that was the one without stilts! Welcome to the magical rollercoaster that is KOOZA!
Returning to Melbourne with this heart-stopping and breath-taking show, KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil that combines two of its well-known traditions— acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.
“KOOZA is about human connection and the world of duality, good and bad,”
says the show’s writer and director David Shiner. “The tone is fun and funny, light and open. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s very much about ideas, too. As it evolves, we are exploring concepts such as fear, identity, recognition and power.”
The show starts with a small clown in striped pyjamas, known as The Innocent, attempting to fly a kite. The Trickster bursts onto the scene like a jack-in-the-box, just one of the many surprises to come, and takes The Innocent on a journey of self-discovery through a kingdom of comic characters, thrills, chills and beautiful surprises.
Familiar circus acts like the aerial hoop and high-wire are refreshed with a level of mastery beyond comprehension. The contortionists had mouths agape while the Wheel-of-death you just couldn’t take your eyes off. The ginormous metal structure hoisted into the air rotates at heart-stopping speeds, powered only by the two performers who leap and counter-rotate in a death-defying display of fearless acrobatics and astonishing teamwork.
There are six KOOZA musicians who play live music during each performance and manage to sound like twice their number! There are also two phenomenal singers who only multiple the chills of each performance. The live music is so perfectly intertwined with the performers it’s a wonder it’s not pre-recorded!
Costume designer Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt has drawn on a wide variety of sources of inspiration for Kooza – everything from graphic novels, the painter Klimt, Mad Max movies, time travel movies to India and Eastern Europe. Clock movements, tin soldiers, marching band uniforms and children’s book illustrations also inspired her morphing to create a look that alludes to Alice in Wonderland, Baron Munchaüsen and the Wizard of Oz.
With a special behind the scenes your into the costume department, we got to see up close the amount of work and artistry that goes into every costume. The technology employed to fit each mask, hat or headpiece to its performer is incredible, a particular favourite of the show was the Trickster skeleton face-mask.
With each costume custom fit to its performer, the enormous task of fitting more than 175 costumes and 160 hats in the show—1,080 items in all, including all the shoes, props, wigs etc – is a MIRACLE.
With no attempt to conceal or disguise the acrobatic equipment, everything is done out in the open, with the transparency of the set changes allowing all focus to be on the performers and acrobatics.
KOOZA’s set evokes a public square that morphs into a circus ring. The circular stage provides the audience with excellent sight lines, so no matter where you’re seated you’ll have full view of the magic!
KOOZA had its world premiere in April 2007 in Montréal, Canada and has since played in over 52 cities in 17 countries, on four different continents, now including Australia.
Playing until March 26th under the Big Top at Flemington Racecourse, be sure to be apart of the magic!
Buy your tickets here.