It was the production staged in Turkey and Egypt. Audiences were lured inside BAZZAR. A journey into an eclectic performance lab of infinite creativity where a joyful troupe of acrobats, dancers, and musicians contrive an awe-inspiring spectacle — one full of utter chaos and uplifting beauty.
James Lavoie is the mastermind behind BAZZAR Costume Design, “Circus arts attract diverse, dynamic people. Let’s be inspired by them!” James embraced the energy, natural look, and raw talent of each artist to amplify their true spirit through costume design.
With a band of thirty crazy eclectic characters, the main challenge was to create individual looks that visually unify in the troupe-spirit of Cirque du Soleil. Much like the show itself, the creation process was intuitive and organic, not fixed to any one point in time. BAZZAR presented an invitation to design by instinct, to be inspired by everyday life, and to trust your gut! Beyond instinct however, James sought inspiration in the works of contemporary 20th century artists, conceptual architectural clothing, and street style, as the history of Cirque du Soleil is rooted in street performance.
Throughout the process, the set design came to be a heavy influence. Study the troupe’s looks and notice black lines running through each. Obvious and subtle. Thick and thin. A nod to the performance lab’s architecture, and connectivity in the chaos. This visual connection between costume and space wasn’t the initial intention. James tends to draw with a Sharpie and heavy hand on paper.
Lead by their Maestro, the troupe bands together to invent a whimsical, one-of-a-kind universe. With his precious Hat as his ultimate tool to proclaim order, the Maestro directs the troupe as it builds on and on and on… Only to see their genius unravel at the hand of a trickster, whose curiosity is a catalyst for conundrum along the path to creation.
Just as winding and exhilarating as the creative process itself, a fun pursuit of order and
disorder ensues between the Maestro and the prankster; both attracted by the Hat’s presence and the power it entails. In a place where the unexpected is expected, the colourful group imagines, builds, and rebuilds vibrant scenes in an artistic, acrobatic game. As the troupe unites in creation, inspiration radiates from the space. At key moments, the story onstage is directly influenced by the audience. Joining the troupe as one, an emotional journey is shared.
BAZZAR is also an homage to the beginnings of Cirque du Soleil, when an intimate troupe of street artists over 30 years ago brought amazement to crowds, anywhere. The high-energy excitement, collision of sounds and colours, and meeting place of diverse characters you’d find at a traditional ‘bazaar’, inspired the name of the show. BAZZAR perfectly captures the spirit!
The spelling is slightly different, where the double ‘zz’ represents the time loop you sense during the adventure. As a word, BAZZAR is also read almost the same frontwords and backwords. Like the performance, just when you think you know where the story is going — there’s a twist!
The village – Cirque du Soleil mobile village includes the Big Top, one large entrance tent, a VIP tent, the artistic tent, a kitchen, offices and more. The site relies only on local water supply and telecommunication facilities to support its infrastructure.
- The Big Top seats more than 1,500 people.
- The entire site set-up takes 6 days. This includes installation of the Big Top, the entrance / VIP tent and the rehearsal spaces.
- The Big Top stands at 19 meters (62 feet) high and is 41 meters (135 feet) in diameter.
- The 4 steel masts stand at 22 meters (71 feet) tall each.
- 450 pegs are required to firmly hold down the big top.
- The Big Top can withstand winds up to 120 km/h (75 mph).
- The light-coloured canvas helps counter the effects of the sun, thereby reducing energy consumption and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
- BAZZAR travels via 25 sea containers carrying close to 700 tons of equipment.
Going back to the start of Cirque du Soleil as street performers, Composer and Musical Director Simon Carpentier found inspiration in live buskers, “I really like street music and went back to the essence of this. People playing acoustic and electric in the street is very raw and present. My first inspiration was street percussions. From there I said, ‘OK let’s go with folk, play with acoustic guitar, and mix it with electronic fan fare to amplify the feel of busking with a modern twist for today.”
Two musicians within the troupe are always playing, live. With live music, singing, and a ‘ghost DJ’ who is never seen but heard, the result is a super groovy, universal, supercharged pop soundscape. Folk-electronica ear-candy, created with four main instruments: Baritone sax, acoustic guitar, dreamy melodic piano, and soulful vocals. Hits of ukulele, various flutes, and simple banjo, amplify the spirit of sidewalk entertainment.
A soulful singer brings poetic, female energy within the musical craze. Combined with live musicians, their total performance makes music an equally visual experience, bringing fans closer to the action within the intimate big top setting.
Light and hopeful music supports the love of creation and key emotions that ride along with the creative process. As Simon says, “Music always tells a story!”