Kooza is categorised under circus arts, inclusive of performers such as acrobats, clowns, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists as well as other stunt-oriented artists. A circus performance commonly comprises a series of acts that are choreographed according to music. Kooza is a contemporary circus instead of traditional circus as it focuses more on the overall aesthetic impact, characters, storyline and the use of lighting, sound and costume design to convey thematic or narrative content.
Kooza is a return of the origins of Cirque du Soleil. “KOOZA” is inspired by “Koza”, a Sanskrit word which comprises of meanings like “box”, “chest” and “treasure”. There are a total of 50 international acrobats, musicians, singers and actors emerging from this magical box. Kooza comprises a combination of two circus traditions, including acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. It illustrates a story of The Innocent who ventured through a kingdom of electrifying thrills, eccentric characters and out-of-the-box surprises, which brings him into contact with a panoply of comic characters.
The troupe come together as one family to shared a story of The Innocent, The Trickster, The King, Clowns, Heimloss and The Bad Dog with themes of identity, fear and power.
Trickster successfully brought out the sublimely quick, nimble and genius characteristics. He keeps a watchful eye out for Innocent while playing tricks on him with his powers.
Whereas, Innocent portrays a naïve, childlike and introvert character.
The King is the most burlesque out of all the characters. He looks crazy with his outfit and makeup.
As usual, the makeup and costume are able to disguise 2 humans being into a clown who are the king’s foolish footmen.
The most ununderstandable character would be Heimloss, as I am pretty lost during the show just like what his name suggested.
I thought that the Mad Dog was adorable yet nutty. He was Innocent’s best companion.
The highlight of the show is on the 19 different nationalities performers who performed physically astonishing feats and laugh-out-loud antics with a live soundtrack fusion of jazz, funk and Bollywood beats. Charivari, Balancing on Chairs, Contortion, High Wire, Hoops Manipulation, Teeterboard, Trapeze, Unicycle Duo and Wheel of Death are the acts of Kooza. Personally, I like the Wheel of Death as it brings out a death-defying action and great teamwork. I was afraid that they might tumble off the wheel.
Marie-Chantale Vailliancourt, the costume designer drew inspirations for every single costume. By controlling at their fingertips, Charivari performers could simply change the colour of costumes easily. The Rat Cape from Kooza was also made up of 150 fake-fur rats with crystal eyes that reflects the stage light to give an illusion of rats running down the performer’s body. In order to be more realistic, some of the rats were fitted with tiny wheels. It is a challenge for the performer wearing the “Bad Dog” costume to move like a dog, such as moving the dog’s ear, and wagging its tail. She uses a technique such that costume changing can be done in a split second. Some facts are all the costumes are tailor-made and are produced at an in-house costume workshop in Montreal Canada, which handcrafts all the costumes based on 3D moulds of the performers. Shoes are hand and custom-made for all artists and are sometimes altered to match the outfit. Many efforts were put into it in order to produce such a buoyant and flamboyant costumes that attract the audience. I am really impressed by their spirit.
Apart from the intricacy of details provided to the costumes, Florence Cornet, as a makeup designer came up with the extravagant make up designs. I noticed that the performers’ makeups are very thick and it helps to disguise them. I believed that most Singapore shows employ external makeup artists to assists the performers in making up. However, Kooza’s performers are all well-equipped as they applied makeup to recreate their look on their own to speed up the process before shows. After numerous practice, the performers spend about 30 minutes to perfect the details. I have to praise them for putting efforts and time into it.