Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna has opened in San Francisco, near Oracle Park; it’s a show directed by Diane Paulus – who is the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard, and in 2013 won a Tony award for the Broadway revival of Pippin.
There’s more information about the show, which runs through January 12th at the Cirque du Soleil website.
One of the things Paulus brought into the production was more of a dramatic narrative than past Cirque du Soleil performances have had. “Coming from a background of theater and opera,” she says, “what I wanted to bring to Cirque was a level of story and emotion to the project. It is Cirque, and it is acrobatics, and the thrills and chills are what a lot of people come out for. But I think what makes Amaluna different is there’s a storyline hidden in the show.” It was meant to be an homage to women, and so there are more female performers to male than usual. Characters are based on Greek godesses (Demeter, Persephone) and storylines borrowed from Mozart’s Magic Flute and Shakespeare’s The Tempest (with the young Miranda, but also a Queen Prospera instead of Prospero).
As she’s been adding drama to the acrobatics, Diane Paulus says, she’s had to get used to a different kind of rehearsal. “The artists in Amaluna are the top athletes in their field. So it almost feels like working in the Olympics here. As a director of theater, I had to really respect their craft and their training. What was really different for me is they can’t do all the tricks repeatedly. You’re not in a rehearsal saying ‘Can you do that again?'”