Cirque du Soleil's KA at MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Circue du Soleil’s KA at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
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KA, which translates to fire in Japanese and signifies spiritual duality in Egyptian mythology, is the story of twins, a boy and a girl, who as youngsters are kidnapped and separated from each other and their family. The show engages a series of epic challenges that these young royals must endure in order to reunite.

A dark, dazzling gothic tone is established the moment one enters the sprawling 1951 seat theater. Smoke accompanied by blasts of fire light up the stage while nimble Ninjas dart and swing from multi-tiered catwalks over and around the audience. These characters are primal in their ominous quest. The show begins when an old Asian man with a long, thin red beard makes his entrance. The Ninjas are his warriors and their dark message has already been planted in the viewer’s mind.

The Slave Cage.

Breaking new theatrical ground there is no stage as we know it. Instead, there are numerous platforms, sets and incredible technology that enable performers to use vertical as well as horizontal space. A platform carrying the royal family and court seems to float forward from the back of the stage. The evil warriors appear, separating the twins from each other and their parents. Sets transform from a stage to a ship caught in a storm. Utilizing the abyss on either side of the stage, characters are tossed overboard and appear to be swallowed up by the roiling ocean water.

Creator and director Robert Lepage describes the KA experience by saying, “People will have the impression they’re within some kind of cinematic event — but actually everything is interactive, everything’s happening at the moment.”

Female Archers.

The magnificent costumes designed by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt, and the props, especially the spears and bows and arrows, designed by Patricia Ruel, celebrate aesthetic and colorful aspects of Asian culture. Perhaps the most extraordinary innovation is the technology that allows the entire stage to transform into the depths of the ocean, a battlefield or a mountain of ice.

Interactive projections designer Holger Forterer is using technology along with live performers to create a new art form. The Cirque press material describes these realistic images, explaining: “The video projections in KA are an intricate mix of computer-generated effects and human input that turn performance space into a cinema screen.” Choreographer Jacques Heim creates a series of acrobatically orchestrated jousts and combative practices that go beyond dance. Throughout the show he has designed fluid dance sequences.

Guy Caron, credited as Director of Creation brings decades of theatrical and Cirque experience into play. According to Caron, “The script was the element that dictated the way the theatre is built, and it determined how the sets would be used. That’s totally new for Cirque du Soleil.”

Possibly the Bellagio’s “O” theater, with its multi-leveled swimming pool to dry stage dictated the sequences. The concept for the theater came first, the show second. With KA the script came first. Caron and Robert Lepage take us on a journey that incorporates the real and the surreal.

After fighting and surviving the elements the royal princess and her caretakers find themselves on a beach where Michael Curry’s amazing sea creatures emerge. Backstage, the master designer, renowned for the Lion King, explained, “We’re trying to find a familiar world that is fantastic and different at the same time.”

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— by Linda Lane, Las Vegas Correspondent.

About the Author

Linda Lane, Las Vegas Correspondent for Jetsetters Magazine at Join the Travel Writers Network.

Linda Lane