Congratulations, Zoha Manzoor! You’ve just won two free ‘Silver’ category tickets to the Cirque du Soleil BAZZAR.
As Cirque du Soleil prepares to make its Oman début, Team Y talks to the man charged with creating the costumes worn by its talented performers.
Whether you’re a child or an adult, there’s a sense of excitement to be had when coming into a circus arena.
From the lights that illuminate the performers to the colours that scream ‘extravaganza’, everybody can enjoy the many marvels that the acts throw at the audience.
The image of a trapeze artist’s backflip through the air is one to cherish for the ages – and it doesn’t matter if you’re five or 65.
In short, visiting a circus is an experience; a form of art that encompasses creativity, colour and sound.
It’s also one that Oman will witness soon as the world’s largest entertainment company – Cirque du Soleil – brings its current premier production, called ‘BAZZAR’, to the Sultanate, from March 28 until April 6.
This week, we talk to James Lavoie – the costume designer of BAZZAR.
Here’s an excerpt from our interview:
Y: Cirque du Soleil has set itself apart from global establishments with its striking colour tones and unique costumes and sets. What are the criteria adopted when designing for an event?
James Lavoie: The costumes of each Cirque du Soleil production are different and unique. For BAZZAR, the visual connection between costume and space is important. I tend to draw my first sketches with a Sharpie (a brand of writing instrument) and heavy hand on paper, and it’s directly expressed through the costume design. For example, the chaotic energy of the After-Effect tableau is captured by scribbly patterns or “pen marks on paper”.
Plus, the theme of Construction-Deconstruction is expressed through various garments (incomplete skirt; cut-out pants) to create a strong sense of building and breaking apart. It’s a bit like the creative process itself.
Y: Cirque du Soleil makes use of in-house designers, seamstresses and machinists. How long does it take for you to conceptualise and then put the costumes into production before the event?
JL: The production and creative process of each Cirque du Soleil show is unique. So, designing costumes introduces Cirque du Soleil DNA to a totally new audience. It pushes our creators to find our essence and articulate it in a way that is universally understandable. With its story centred on the creative process and the energy found in the unexpected, BAZZAR shines a light on what is uniquely Cirque du Soleil. The challenge is always the same: create a show that will be nothing like the audience has ever seen before. We have been successful in this matter for more than 30 years!
Y: What are some of the challenges that you face with cultural appropriation, especially when you’re touring countries that the production takes inspiration from?
JL: Cirque du Soleil creates shows that are universal. With our touring shows, our goal is to appeal to different audiences from different cultures and sustain the test of time without having to adapt the show to each market.
For BAZZAR, as the history of Cirque du Soleil is rooted in street performance, my inspiration was coming from the works of contemporary 20th century artists, conceptual architectural clothing, and street style. I am thrilled to share Cirque du Soleil unicity with the Arabic audience.
Y: What are some of the safety precautions taken on the set during the show?
JL: The safety of our artists and employees is always our primary concern in everything we do and something we never compromise on. The new format presented its share of creative and technical challenges but ultimately, it pushed us to innovate even more to deliver acrobatic and artistic performances as breathtaking as in our
Question: What is your favourite feature of the Cirque du Soleil?