Photographs by Jess Desaulniers-Lea.
Thanks to Cirque du Soleil, the world of Avatar has finally come to life. Through a riveting combination of spectacular visuals, puppetry and stagecraft floats, Cirque du Soleil apply its signature style to bring James Cameron’s imaginary world to the stage. On Thursday, January 07, Air Canada Centre in Toronto opens its doors for thousands to witness this unique live experience, directed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon.
The crowd was greeted by a Na’vi Storyteller (played by Canadian native, Raymond O’ Neill) to narrate the story of how two boys, Ralu and Entu (played by Jeremiah Hughes and Daniel Crispin) and their newfound friend Tsyal (Zoe Sabattie) embark on a fearless journey to find Toruk, a Panadoran creature who can save the sacred Tree of Souls from death.
For those looking forward to the typical Cirque production would be slightly disappointed. The show traded its usual poetic themes for a more story driven setting. The narrative was front and centre whereas jaw-dropping acrobatics took a back seat. The flawless puppetry followed by non-stop somersaults and tumbling was the closest we got to an acrobatic performance.
The lavish visuals and costumes were the real treat of the evening. The creative vision really captured Cameron’s imagination and made up for the simple plot. Another treat was the cinematic score for the production. Prisicilla Le Foll who played The Shaman had a voice of a thousand angels. Her solo during “The First Toruk Makto” (scene 19) was soulful and luminous, I’m sure those in attendance would agree. The story would end victorious as Na’vi trio (with the help of Toruk) saved the Tree of Souls from extinction.
Toruk-The First Flight was a nice tribute to the 2009 blockbuster. Cirque du Soleil took a risk and should be commended for its bravery. It’s definitely worth checking out if the show comes to your city.
Get your tickets for tonight and tomorrow here.