IF YOU GO
• What: Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem”
• When: Oct. 26 to Dec. 2
• Where: Atlantic Station, 20th Street, Atlanta
• Cost: $36.50 to $153.50
• For more information: Visit www.cirquedusoleil.com
AT A GLANCE
• There are 779 pieces of costumes in the “Totem” wardrobe (including shoes, headpieces, accessories, etc.)
• The heaviest costume is Crystal Man and it weighs eight pounds. There are 4,001 pieces of mirrors just for his unitard.
• A team of six people clean, iron, repaint the shoes and maintain the costumes in the wardrobe department.
• The artists apply their own makeup, which can take between 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Except for the frogs, as part of their makeup is airbrushed.
• The use of electronics is present in the design of “Totem’s” accessories (the tracker’s hat, the cosmonaut helmets, etc.).
• The turtle skeleton weighs 2,700 pounds, which includes two horizontal bars and is completely covered in a non-slip finish.
• The unicycles are 7 feet tall but very light, which makes them easier to manoeuvre down the ramp at the beginning of the act.
• The perch poles are made of duralumin, an alloy used in aeronautics. The tallest pole is about 33 feet high.
ATLANTA -- Follow the journey as man evolves through time from its original amphibian body to its current state in Cirque du Soleil's show "Totem."
Since its world premiere in Montreal in 2010, "Totem" has visited close to 15 cities in four different countries and has performed in front of more than 1.5 million spectators. At the end of October, Cirque's blue and yellow big top pitches its tent at Atlantic Station until early December.
Written and directed by Robert Lepage, "Totem" is a blend of ancient myths and folklore mixed with scientific fact through visual stimulation and acrobatic skill.
"Every two years, we come up with a new big top production," said Francis Jalbert, "Totem" publicist. "We work with different creators to see what they think 'Cirque' is. We always start with a blank page. Robert came up with the evolution of mankind."
In the story, the audience meets four main characters: The Tracker, an environmentally conscious friend of the animals, The Scientist, a Darwinesque explorer who visits the different worlds in the show, The Amerindian dancer who traces the history of the evolution of species with his rings, and The Crystal Man, who "comes from space to spark life on Earth."
"Basically, there isn't a themed (story)line, more of the idea," Jalbert said. "The Scientist is like Darwin. He juggles in the cone and shows the importance of science. Tracker shows different environments. ... It's evolution of mankind in your own way."
Comedic performer Pippo Crotti added, "We suggest the images and you can draw your own idea of the evolution."
Like other Cirque shows, there are acrobatics, feats of strength and athleticism. Some of the acts include the fixed trapeze duo, devil sticks, hoops dancer, crystal ladies and Russian bars.
Another staple in Cirque shows are the clowns who keep the crowd laughing in between the intimate and intense acts.
"I'm an Italian tourist (in the show)," Crotti said, who plays Valentino the clown. "We will tour the world, and for a comic it is a challenge ... because every country and even city is different -- the culture and humor are not the same. People react in a different way, but I love the challenge and getting to know other aspects of the comedy with my character."
Since Crotti is one of the comic reliefs during the performance, he has a little leeway with his acting, especially when walking through the audience.
"I have to follow a line, but as a clown I can improvise," he said "We have a good relationship between the clown and the audience because I get in the crowd before the show."
Although the crowd will walk away interpreting the message of the performance themselves, Jalbert believes they'll have a good time because of the actors and their skills.
"People go away seeing amazing people doing amazing feats in front of their eyes," he said. "They completely forget about their lives and have a good time. They will see something they've never seen before."
The show is suitable for all ages. For ticket information, visit www.ticketmaster.com or call 404-249-6400.