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February 16, 2012

Dress Rehearsal Viewing: Impressions of Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA

The Cirque du Soleil is in Fukuoka at the moment, with their show KOOZA. Kam & I were lucky enough to be invited to the dress rehearsal preview performance of the show the night before it opened, with my boss & his wife. We went with Press passes for FN, and because my boss had a photographer's pass too, we ended up with what I'd rate the best seats in the house- the dead centre of the front row. The dress rehearsal show was exactly the same as the paid performances, with the audience made up of local residents who may be inconvenienced by the circus over the coming months, press members & other guests. So cool!

I've never had such good seats to ANY show in my life, so it was a thrill just sitting there in the big top waiting for the show to start. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take any photos inside the venue, even through we had prime position (at one point, the main character of the show even looked down and winked at me!)

The story followed a boy called Innocent who is delivered a package containing a treasure box (Kooza, the title of the show, means treasure box)- when he opens the box, a world of magic unfolds before him. The show really had it all- contortionists, tightrope walkers, acrobats, huge spinning "death wheels"! And the costumes, oh man, the costumes - seeing them up close was really amazing (especially during the "skeleton dance" scene).

One of the best parts of the night, though, happened before the show. As clowns wandered the audience before it started, they played some jokes on the crowd. When one clown gave Kamil a huge bucket of popcorn (literally a water bucket), he was really pleased and started eating it happily. I was quite suspicious as the clown walked away, though, thinking that there must be some catch. In the end I was right- another clown approached us just before the show started and poured the whole bucket of popcorn over our heads! He then proceeded to pull out a huge leaf-blower and blow us in the faces and body to clear away all the popcorn. It was really funny.

All in all, the show was completely wonderful AND it was snowing lightly over the Big Top in Hakozaki- magical!


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