The Enthusiasm Of Youth

Cirque Du Soleil is coming again to İstanbul audiences, this time with Alegria, another of its major shows. On the eve of the spectacle, we talked with artistic director Bruno Darmagnac about Cirque Du Soleil and Alegria

In one of your earlier interviews you said that Alegria came about when the internet first appeared and created a gap between the older and younger generations. How does Alegria stage that gap?

Alegria is not actually a show about the internet, but the internet inspired its creators. Since they didn’t want to talk directly about technology, they realized that they could use the generation gap, so they staged that in Alegria. Alegria takes place in a kingdom from which the king has gone. On the one hand, there is the old establishment around the king who want to hold on to power, and on the other, the new generation who want freedom and new things. So there’s the story of the generation gap, but the staging is very different. Putting the internet in the context of a circus show wouldn’t really work, nor was there any question of putting on a hi-tech multimedia show. Alegria actually relies on the performer, the artist. We don’t have huge visual effects. It’s on a very human scale.

Do you think art can help people to better perceive the age they live in and eliminate the generation gap?

Definitely. I think that because art conveys emotion and always brings people something new. When people are touched, when they are moved by something in a happy way, they react to that reality without thinking, because that reality, that emotion, makes people feel the moment. The people who watch the show are from very different age groups. I see children, parents, sometimes even grandparents. These three different age groups read the show at different levels. They might not laugh for the same reason, but they will all laugh when the clowns are on stage. A child might laugh because the clown is silly, the parents might understand the story, and the grandparents might judge it in a different way. A single scene can touch people in different ways, but what matters in the end is that they are all touched. And when they are touched they are true, and real, and they share something in common.

There are nine acts that narrate one story in Alegria. How were the performances chosen to tell the different acts of the story?

The younger generation, who desire power and freedom, are symbolized by a power track and a group act with fifteen acrobats. Because of the nature of the act - they jump and bounce very high as you know - the incredible acrobatics of this large group were the perfect act to represent energy and rebellion.

What is the importance of Alegria among all the Cirque du Soleil shows?

Alegria is one of Cirque du Soleil’s most important and signature shows. You can capture the soul of the company and see the incredible costumes and makeup as well as the style of the music that have made it so famous. For people who don’t know Cirque du Soleil, it’s good to start with Alegria because it’s like seeing the essence of the company.

ANOTHER OF DARMAGNAC’S FAVORITES

When we asked Darmagnac which of the other Cirque du Soleil shows he liked best, he immediately replied, “O, which was staged in Las Vegas!”  O, which was performed on a stage specially built for it, was a show about water. Darmagnac was so moved by the show that in the end he could not hold back tears.

DARMAGNAC IN CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

Three months after Bruno Darmagnac started working as assistant to the artistic director of Saltimbanco, which also came to Istanbul last year, they proposed that he work as artistic director of Alegria. Darmagnac was quite taken aback by this offer, which came very early. After talking with the show’s previous artistic director, he transferred from Saltimbanco to Al