With the town buzzing with Cirque Du Soleil excitement, it was only natural for the Ohlala team to go behind the scenes and get some inside scoop for you all. Ohlala’s Anushay Khan got to talk to the director of the show, Ms Susan Gaudreau..
- What does it mean for you to be with a production like Cirque Du Soleil?
It was a huge honour to be asked by the greatest Entertainment company in the world to create a one of a kind show in their iconic Big Top. Cirque du Soleil custom creates a team with the best designers, operations, and production for each creation they make the best shows! I felt spoiled to have such talent to create with. The team work relentlessly to bring my vision to reality onstage and exceeded even my own expectations!
- How long does it take to prepare the performers according to your vision?
Although we had a 10-week creation in the Big Top with the artists, there is a lot of preproduction that happens many months beforehand. One of those key tasks as a Director that I always do is take time to speak individually with each artist beforehand and brief them on my idea of how they will be in terms of character, staging, and performance. I have a background as an acrobatic choreographer so I even go so far as to create a first draft of their act in the show with the music they will perform to! That way they have a clear direction as to where I am heading artistically.
- Is it difficult to live up to the challenge of directing a name as huge as Cirque Du Soleil?
It is definitely a pressure one feels as a Director to want to create a new show that will become as iconic as all the others but at the same time they chose me to direct this project because they felt I would best bring their trademark to new audiences around the globe.
- How do you decide which cuts make it to the main show?
A show has to have the right balance of poetry, danger, thrills, laughter, and beauty in terms of performance. A balance of high energy and lyrical acts. I keep rearranging the order of proposed acts until I find the right balance and flow that I feel works beautifully. That said, sometimes I will drop an act and bring in a new one to succeed.
- You’ve introduced new acts such as the Indian Pole for the Bazaar. Where do you come up with the ideas for introducing new performers for your production?
This is my 3rd show for Cirque and I am realizing that my trademark is using artists/acts that have never been done before at Cirque. As a Director, I think as an acrobatic choreographer, and I am able to envision how I would stage the new act. I love to challenge myself and the team!
- Tell us more about the making of Bazaar.
It has been a great human journey. It is so challenging to gather all these different artists and technicians together to put on stage the idea of the creative team, but while it is a tough and intense experience, it is also a very rich one! It’s a lot of hard work, with very long days, but it’s magic to see all these ideas coming together on stage!
It started months and months ago around a table, with the creative team, where we started to work on ideas. We then spent time in Cirque du Soleil head office big studios, where we could start building the stage and recreate show conditions, working on the show acts and narrative. We finally built our big top outside of Cirque du Soleil head office and spent time to finish the show, but also perform it for 2 weeks in front of family, Cirque employees, friends, Cirque du Soleil fans. It was great to have an audience and their reaction to fine tune it! We were then ready and headed to India where we did our world Premiere!
- If you could choose, which Act would you say was your favorite to direct?
All of them! Each artist brought something very unique to the creation and they all inspired me in very individual ways. The artists and creation team were such loyalists and followed my artistic process with passion and faith. I felt like the luckiest Director and was grateful for the experience each of the artists gave for me.