By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Wendy Gilmartin
By Jennifer Swann
By Claire de Dobay Rifelj
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Catherine Wagley
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A.W.: I would agree with that. It gets back to what Violaine said about brotherhood. In Varekaiwe’re a traveling people like the Romany Gypsies, a nomadic people who don’t have a very romantic life; we’re survivors, falling down and getting back up again. What Dominic wanted to do was a show that evoked forgotten childhood dreams, and adolescent dreams, with a different kind of energy. The rhythm in Varekaiis so different from past shows — it’s more driving, more rapid. Like a teenager. A young adult world with a backbeat. It’s really represented in the music.
I hear that quite a bit on the album. Musically, was this very different to incorporate in a Cirque show?
V.C.: We had used this style before, but not as a whole identity. It’s like when you say “brash” — we have that element, but when you talk about the teenager’s soul, you’re also talking about fragility, a kind of searching. There’s some lyricism too.
A.W.: Yes, but I’m sorry, that Russian swing number — it’s driving. It’s like, you could be at a rave somewhere!
I’ve heard that many things in a Cirque show don’t get settled until the last minute.
A.W.: Oh, yes.
V.C.: I think that’s part of the excitement for the audience.
Structurally, other shows have been described as unfolding in more or less self-contained acts. Varekai has been described as something of a departure from that.
A.W.: It’s not that different in terms of structure. But it is different in terms of rhythm, which can bring a completely different feeling, that’s for sure.
Speaking of taking risks, Zumanity opened last month in Las Vegas. There’s a lot of buzz about it being the first adult-themed Cirque du Soleil show.
A.W.: It’s just another side of Cirque. Again, it’s totally different. It’s not a circus arts–based show. It’s more cabaret, a theater show. It’s going deeper into what we’ve always presented — sexuality, eroticism to a certain extent, love, romanticism. It explores what’s always been there.
Is Zumanity an expression of the way Cirque is, or is it also an expression of the way Vegas is, an adult playground?
A.W.: We’ve always wanted to do a show that wasn’t circus-based. Cabaret makes you put everything and anything on the stage, which is fun.
People are a bit concerned that Cirque du Soleil is moving away from its G-rated shows that everyone in the family can go see. Any validity in that?
A.W.: No. As I say, it’s just another side. There are albums and TV series and all sorts of Cirque projects out there, and this is one of them. Though I think it’s a really important show, because what we see in the so-called erotic market is not erotic at all — stereotypical men, stereotypical women. We’re always told what is beautiful, so you sit there and say, “Oh, I’m not very beautiful, am I?” So this show has all sorts of people, all sizes and personalities. The oldest people in Zumanity are 71 and 74. We want people to leave the theater feeling very good about themselves.
So it’s really about love? That’s not a euphemism?
A.W.: Right. It’s not just about a hunky man doing a striptease, though that is in the show. But it’s one element in a mosaic.
V.C.: The idea is to always look for that little avenue of, how can we do this different? Otherwise, it’s all pointless.
Varekai runs through October 19 at Staples Center. Performances are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 4 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 and 5 p.m. For tickets, call Admission Network at (800) 678-5440, or go online at www.cirquedusoleil.com.
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