Kooza word which comprises of meanings like “box”,

Kooza is categorised under circus arts, inclusive of
performers such as acrobats, clowns, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians,
tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists as well as other stunt-oriented
artists. A circus performance commonly comprises a series of acts that are
choreographed according to music. Kooza is a contemporary circus instead of a traditional
circus as it focuses more on the overall aesthetic impact, characters,
storyline and the use of lighting, sound and costume design to convey thematic
or narrative content.

 

1. 
Story

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Kooza is a return of
the origins of Cirque du Soleil. “KOOZA” is inspired by “Koza”, a Sanskrit
word which comprises of meanings like “box”, “chest” and “treasure”. There are
a total of 50 international acrobats, musicians, singers and actors emerging
from this magical box. Kooza comprises a combination of two circus traditions,
including acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. It illustrates a story of The Innocent who ventured through a kingdom of electrifying
thrills, eccentric characters and out-of-the-box surprises, which brings him into contact with a
panoply of comic characters. Innocent portrays a naïve, child-like and introvert character.

Whereas, Trickster successfully brought out the sublimely quick, nimble and
genius characteristics. He thursts The
Innocent into a topsy-turvy world of fun and action.  Together with the burlesque King and his
foolish clowns, Heimloss and The Bad Dog, Kooza presents an exaggerating and
dramatic characters that are adorable yet nutty.  

 

 

2.  Performance

The focus point of Kooza is on
the 19 different nationalities performers who performed gravity-defying
feats and laugh-out-loud antics. The
most memorable scene is the Charivari act where the performers performed an
extraordinary feats of flexibility, coordination and athleticism to dive in to
a fabric circle. Usually, the wire-walkers walked across the rope with a pole,
however for Kooza, they cycled across it with bicycles and they have to lift up
a performer who was sitting on a chair. I was afraid that he might tumble off. Personally,
I like the Wheel of Death as it brings out a death-defying stunts and great
teamwork. The audience were squealing whenever the performers almost lost their
balance. Other acts included the Balancing on Chairs, Contortion, High Wire, Manipulation,
Teeterboard, Trapeze and Unicycle Duo.

 

3.  Costumes

Marie-Chantale
Vailliancourt, the costume designer drew inspirations for every costumes. With
the costume put on, Bad Dog looks really like a dog. My spine shivers down when
I saw The Rat Cape and Skeleton costume! Additionally, costume changing was done rapidly. Some facts are Marie adapted a technique such that
Charivari performers could simply change the colour of costumes by controlling
their fingertips. The Rat Cape from Kooza was made up of 150 fake-fur rats with
crystal eyes that reflects the stage light to give an illusion of rats running
down the performer’s body. In order to be more realistic, some of the
rats were fitted with tiny wheels. Furthermore, all the costumes are tailor-made and are produced at an in-house
costume workshop in Montreal Canada. Shoes are hand and custom-made for all
artists and are sometimes altered to match the outfit. The costumes are
extremely buoyant and flamboyant because of the efforts put in to attract
the audience.

 

Apart
from the intricacy of details provided to the costumes, Florence Cornet, as a
makeup designer came up with the extravagant make up designs. I
noticed that the performers’ makeups are very thick and it helps to disguise
them.  I believed that most Singapore
shows employ external makeup artists to assists the performers in making up.

However, Kooza’s performers applied makeup themselves to in order to save time.

After numerous practice, they spent about 30 minutes to perfect the details. They
are indeed all-rounded!

 

4.  Props

Rogé Francoeur

 

 

5.  Set design

Kooza
was debuted at the trademark blue and yellow Big Top at Bayfront Avenue. It was
my first time watching a circus at such venue. I was awed by the Big Top as it
really looks like a fantasy world to me. I was curious how the stage inside the
Big Top looks, how can there be a stage inside it and why is it a fully air
conditioned area when it is situated at an open space area. Snacks, drinks and
merchandise are also available. The circular stage under the tent provides me with
excellent sight lines as I can get a 360 view of the stage from where I seated.

The stage was surrounded
by audience on 3 sides and the fourth side was serve as background. As
the hydraulics will be propelling, thus the stage is set high to provide extra
space. This allows the acts to run smoothly without any hiccups. Jack-in-the-Box moves artists in and out of the
spotlight, serves as a bandstand and is flanked by two curved staircases. It can
be opened and closed like the petals of an enormous flower by just two people
using ropes and pulleys. The idea is unique.

Inspirations of the decoration of the travelling
tower were from Hindu culture, Pakistani buses and Indian jewelry, which added to the intriguing atmosphere.

I love the design of the surface of the stage as it looks like a starry sky. Technicians and artists travel under the
stage on dollies like mechanics use to roll under cars. It is a scenographic environment that offers
true proximity to the audience.

 

6.  Composer

 

Jean Francois Cote,
the music composer, beautifully
demonstrates the spirit of the live show with variety of genres and mood
music that helps to assists in dramatizing the show’s theme, characters and
narratives. This is a characteristic of contemporary circus. The orchestral arrangements
were influenced by traditional
Indian music which are softer and more soothing. The musician pit is located on the upper
level of the structure. The live band which comprises of trumpet, trombone,
bass, drums, percussion as well as keyboard were playing a fusion of funk, jazz and Bollywood
beats. Furthermore, there are 2 singers who sang live too.  Jonathan Deans and Leon Rothenberg matches the
sound well with every acts. After the Kooza show, I felt that I sonically
entered into a different world as the depth and width of sound were created and
produces differently. I believed that it mesmerized
each and
every one of us who have attended the show.

 

The stage is ringed by recessed lighting units that cast
a warm glow up into the faces of the performers, much like the footlights of a
19th-century theater. As the lighting designer, Martin Labrecque accentuates
the faces of the actors without compromising the aesthetic of the show as a
whole as lighting must be visible from all around the stage. The lighting did
complement the whole production as it blends well with the sets, props and
performers.

 

7.  Conclusion

 

KOOZA explores
themes of fear, identity, recognition and power. The show is set in an
electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills,
audacity and total involvement. With the eloquent choreography, flabbergasting costumes, majestic soundtrack, grand stage as well as
lighting makes the show a memorable one. This is a real awe-inspiring
production.

 

 

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