Get ready for Cirque du Soleil TORUK The First Flight!
The creative minds behind the blockbuster movie Avatar have teamed up with the creative forces of Cirque du Soleil for one of the the coolest Cirque shows yet! The 37th Cirque du Soliel production brings the audience on a mystical journey to the Utopian land of Pandora, where the gentle Na’vi face a terrible fate unless the Tree of Souls can be saved by three young people and the ferocious Toruk!
Avatar was one of the first movies I saw after the birth of my son. I remember leaving the theatre a little bit emotional (and not just because postpartum hormones were making me emotional about everything those days.) It wasn’t so much the story, but more because it was the first 3D movie I had seen and I was so excited by the possibility of what movies could become. Thinking about the things my sons will see in their lifetimes was, and sometimes is, overwhelming…hence the tears. I didn’t say it was a good excuse, it’s just what happened.
That feeling was with me again at opening night of TORUK The First Flight. The beauty and whimsy that you’ve come to expect from Cirque to Soleil productions is enhanced in thrilling ways by new technology. The performers interact with sets that are projections and special effects. The shadow of the dragonlike Toruk swoops across the floor of Rogers Place and I ducked, so real was the feeling of an imminent attack. The experience is further heightened by an app that can be downloaded prior to the show from the App Store or Google Play. While the technology is still in its infancy, I think it is a really neat feature and a cool way for audience members to participate in the production.
Before the show I spent some time exploring the world of Pandora. You can play around and learn a bit of the Na’avi mythology on which the show is based. There is a narrator in the show who also provides some background to help the audience follow the story. During the show there are several times that a gentle buzz on your phone will alert you to an upcoming audience participation opportunity. Based on where you are sitting, the effects will flash on, make noise or change colours. It felt like the whole arena was part of the stage set. They call it an immersive experience, and gazing around the arena it really was!
The magic of the quest story, the five tribes and talisman each possesses that must be collected in order to avoid the terrible fate foreseen by a mystic shaman is enchanting. The production is an experience that made me thrilled again for the future of immersive entertainment!
Tickets start at $42 dollars and are available from the Cirque du Soleil website.