Story, photos by Tiffany C. DuBois
On a crisp Monday night, we attended a documentary featuring Cirque Du Soleil’s newest show, “Toruk: The First Flight” at The Prince Theater in Philadelphia. The preview was open only to Cirque members and the press, and everyone waited eagerly to take their seats to view the preview inspired by James Cameron‘s hit movie “Avatar“.
The story of Toruk is one that everyone in the entire city of Philadelphia should hear. A Na’vi storyteller tells a tale of the Na’vi discovering Pandora 4,000 years before humans ever set foot in Pandora, as depicted in the Avatar. One of the things that we noticed upon arrival was the sense of anticipation, excitement, and to an extent – fear. Fear of what we will all see, fear that we won’t enjoy it as much as the movie, and the universal fear that we will love this show more than the movie.
In addition to the viewing, there was a Q&A session and a raffle that two of the performers, Lydia and Jim, conducted with the audience. They are a part of the puppeteer and acrobat teams for Toruk, which was surprising and amazing, and it was amazing to have a private interview with these incredibly talented individuals.
Below is the interview at the theater after photo opportunities, the Q&A session, and the raffling off of prizes which included tickets for their upcoming shows set for March 8-12 at the Wells Fargo Center.
Q: How long have both of you been performing?
A: (The short answer from both) 4 years, and well over a decade.
Q: What’s the craziest stunt you’ve ever done?
A: Lydia recounted a scene in the upcoming show of having to climb the wall, and how many times she had to fall and flip. Which to see her do this is something that I am so looking forward too! And for Jim as a puppeteer he is in charge of handling the back of the bird, in addition to picking up props of stuff off the stage.
Q: Is Toruk the largest production?
A: That’s hard to quantify in regards to the size of each show.
Q: Are there any shows that the stage director or producer allows for creative input?
A: The short answer is yes, in fact one example was in regards to changing from c.d. sounds to live sounds during the show.
Q: Most memorable show?
A: For Lydia, her most memorable was opening night with Guy Liberte and James Cameron in Montreal. For Jim, it was the Hollywood premier of Toruk just because having a high-pressure environment is invigorating.
Q: Any ideas for future shows?
A: Both answers were a resounding yes! The level of collaboration, of wanting everyone succeed in their endeavors was something that you could see during the interview, and in how they relaxed, had fun, and rolled with the punches.
Q: As far as contracts are concerned, do you get asked to stay, audition for more parts, etc.?
A: Both of their answers were that they have one year contracts for whatever show they are in. They are a part of a family of performers, designers, architects that create such a memorable piece of art, that it was amazing to talk to them.
To purchase ticket for the March shows, please visit Http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk