KOOZA tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world.
KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions - acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.
The Innocent's journey brings him into contact with a panoply of comic characters such as the King, the Trickster and the Obnoxious Tourist and his Bad Dog.
Between strength and fragility, laughter and smiles, turmoil and harmony, 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.
For KOOZA, Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt has drawn on a wide variety of sources of inspiration: everything from graphic novels, the painter Klimt, Mad Max movies, time- travel movies to India and Eastern Europe. She was also inspired by clock movements, tin soldiers, marching band uniforms and children’s book illustrations. All this merges to create a look that alludes to Alice in Wonderland, Baron Munchaüsen and the Wizard of Oz.
There are many rapid costume changes during the show and Marie-Chantale researched magicians’ quick-change techniques to create costume magic of her own.
- Marie-Chantale had percussion instruments made out of molded carbon for the Skeleton costume. They look and sound like bones when the performers hit them against each other to create a musical rhythm.
- The “Bad Dog” costume proved to be another huge challenge because the performer wearing it has to be able to move the dog’s ears, stick its tongue in and out, dribble and wag its tail.
- The “Rat Cape” is a costume that creates the illusion that rats are running down a performer’s body before disappearing into a trap. This would be relatively easy in a film, but it’s a lot more difficult to achieve live on stage. Following a long period of trial and error, the final Rat Cape costume is made up of 150 fake-fur rats with crystal eyes to catch the light. The running effect was inspired by the mechanism of vertical blinds and several of the rats are fitted with little wheels to make them seem even more alive.
- There are more than 175 costumes and 160 hats in the show—1,080 items in all, including all the shoes, props, wigs and so on.
One army costume features more than 400 individually- sewn metallic flaps to create the effect that it is armored.
Costumes at Cirque du Soleil – Facts:
- All costumes are custom-made and the majority are produced at the Costume workshop in the International Headquarters in Montreal, Canada. .
- Every year, the Costume workshop produced more than 25,000 pieces. Each year, the Costume workshop artisans use close to 130 kilometers of fabric from around the world. A total of 80% of all fabrics are treated and dyed in-house by the artisans of the textile design team.
- Shoes are hand- and custom-made for all artists by the artisans of the Shoe workshop. Brand new sports or dance shoes are sometimes altered to meet the specific of a costume. On average, nearly 3,000 pairs of shoes are produced by the workshop every year.
- Hats can be seen in every Cirque du Soleil show and are a key part of the costumes. Like the costumes, they are custom-designed and made in the workshop. To do this, the milliners mould and build the hats on plaster models of the artists’ heads. When artists arrive at Cirque du Soleil, they must have a mould made of their head.
“It’s been a great challenge, but it’s also full of traps. You don’t want to exaggerate or slip into creating a caricature when you’re trying to capture a character.” — Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt