By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by “KA” and MGM International)
Unbelievable . . . Extraordinary . . . Innovative . . . Cirque du Soleil’s latest spectacular production show, “KA” will amaze you! Their enormous stage twists, turns, floats, flips over, and moves as easily as though it were a light piece of furniture. The stage is composed of two moving platforms which move and act independently of each other- the Sand Cliff deck measures 25×50 feet with 6’ depth, weighing 80,000 pounds, while the Tatami deck is 30×30 feet, and weights 100,000 pounds. In some scenes, these platforms are similar to climbing walls. The Sand Cliff stage is simply tilted, the sand disappears and it becomes the next scene. The mechanics are that easy and fast. A crane lifts the Sand Cliff deck up, down, rotates it 360 degrees, and tilts from flat to 110 degrees-all at the same time. In the past, the traditional spectacular production shows needed jugglers and other acts to keep the audience interested when the scenes were changed.
Each scene is more elaborate than the last! During a storm at sea, a ship’s passengers desperately grab anything to keep from being swept overboard. The extreme angles of the ship’s rocking and turning movements are completely manipulated by the people onboard. Finally the entire stage, from the ceiling to the floor, is transformed into an ocean as the passengers swim underwater. Air bubbles are created through interactive sensors that react to their movement, and seem to follow them.
The adventure continues as everyone is washed-up on an island. They encounter unique giant creatures- a centipede, starfish, turtle, blue potato bug, and 2 crabs. Their clever arty costumes have flashy pearl-like shell faces which glisten under the lights, and the bodies are designed to allow the performer the greatest movement. It took 1,300 hours to make one crab costume in which the artist walks in a back bend position. In another scene, the forest people are high in the trees performing on bungees and swing poles, combining poles with the flying trapeze. Actors fall 60’ to disappear into apparently “nothingness” under the stage. The video projections are an intricate mix of computer-generated effects and human input that turn the performance space into a cinema screen.
I have been reviewing shows in Las Vegas for 27 years and can say, “KA” is ahead of their time, one of the best of Las Vegas’ spectacular productions. It is a happy fantasy which will hold your attention. As the show‘s Creative Director Robert Lepage explains, “I’ve worked on rock shows and things that have been quite big, but never anything as big as this.”
“KA” combines acrobatics, martial arts, life-size puppetry, SFX, multimedia and pyrotechnics. “KA” was inspired by the ancient Egyptian belief in the “KA”, the fire that could either unite or separate, destroy, or illuminate. This Odyssey tells of the coming of age, love, and conflict of twins- a boy and a girl.
Their long wandering journey through a mythical kingdom is imaginative and original. Even the 1,900 seat theatre is unique, offering many interesting ways for the 80 actors to enter and exit its stage. Singles would love this show because the surprises will have you raving for weeks.
It’s a show for the whole family, specially if they each have children. “KA” appears at the MGM, corner of Las Vegas Blvd., South, an. For information call (800)-929-1111 or (702)-891-7777. www.ka.com or www.mgmgrand.com