Irving and I love going to Cirque shows. Vegas is known for its out-of-this-world shows with dazzling costumes, incredible acts and gorgeous sets. We’ve seen Zumanity and KA and really liked them both. It’s always the highlight of a trip to Sin City.
But now we don’t have to drive four hours to Nevada to catch an amazing stage show. Hollywood now has its very own resident Cirque show. Introducing: IRIS.
We’ve been itching to see this show since we first heard about it two years ago. Unlike the shows in Vegas, IRIS didn’t have a building designed around the performance. Instead, they had to use the existing space inside the Kodak Theater and retrofit it to their needs. It was a three year process that involved a $40 million excavation project to create room for the sets they had in mind.
The two hour show is comprised of human artists, mechanical props, film, light, music and sound all interacting with each other in the most magical way you can imagine. The execution is flawless and you really are transported out of reality and into a whimsical world that will catch your breath and hold it til the very end.
There are 72 cast members, 200 costumes, 20 projectors and more than 300 stage cues throughout the show. There are times when you don’t know where to look because there is so much going on at once. You can look left, right, up or down and your eyes will be fascinated with what they can see.
The acts were impressive, it is truly amazing what the body is capable of. It’s the human aspect that really impresses me. There is risk, fear and adrenaline involved in all of the performances. It’s the “how do they do that” questions that mesmerizes the audience.The circus has evolved into a fantastical and glamorous occasion and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the marriage between people and technology.
The above image represented a film strip. The actors all moved in identical unison and it looked like you watching a movie. IRIS is located in the Kodak Theater which is in the heart of Hollywood. The whole show is about the evolution of the movie industry and it made me giddy to witness it right where the magic originally happened.
One of my favorite acts was the Cops and Robbers sequence. It plays out like a Dick Tracey skit. The good guys and the bad guys in battle with each other. The pursuit of justice and the evasion of getting caught. I won’t spoil the details in case you get the pleasure of viewing it live, but trampolines were involved and it was so cool to watch!
After the show, I was invited to join a blogger’s Q&A with two of the performers, Andrew and Kevin Atherton. They are identical twins who perform aerial tricks on the straps together. They both got involved with gymnastics at age 7 and joined Cirque when they were 24. They were with Varekai for 8 1/2 years before joining the cast of IRIS. In those years, they never missed a single performance due to sickness. These guys really love what they do and you can tell they are very proud to be a part of this show.
They talked about how what they do does involve a bit of risk, but they trust each other with their lives. They said that some people dream of being able to fly and they get to do it for a living.
The performers get a lot of freedom to choreograph their own acts and the music was added later. Danny Elfman, who has scored numerous blockbuster films (The Hunger Games, Alice in Wonderland, Chicago, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) also scored IRIS. It must have been quite a challenge to not have locked video to work with like he was used to. The music was such an important role in the show and it was very well done.
IRIS will be playing in the Kodak Theater for more than a decade and I already can’t wait to see it again. The performances evolve over time and no two shows are alike. As cast members are added, new talents will be written into the show. Whether you’re an LA local or a visiting tourist, it’s a must see. For tickets, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/IRIS .
PS: I went to Circus school last year to learn how to swing from the trapeze! Click here for my pictures! What do you think? Should I audition for Cirque?
Tickets were provided to us, but as usual, all opinions are my own.