Cirque du Soleil swings back to Atlanta with its production 'KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities.'

Cirque du Soleil is back at Atlantic Station through Dec. 24, with the production 'KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities.' (Courtesy of Matthew Tsang)

Cirque du Soleil is back at Atlantic Station through Dec. 24, with the production “KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities.” The show was inspired by those cabinets of wonder that were the ancestors of museums and showcases amazing acrobats, contortionists, whimsical performers and marvelous steampunk-inspired props. Artistic director Rachel Lancaster joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom along with one of the featured performers, Sophie Guay, to talk about the celebrated troupe’s current spectacle.

Interview highlights:

The fantastical tale of “KURIOS:”

“The story is based on a scientist’s journey, his belief that through constant research and constant challenge, that anything is possible. And really, that’s the foundation of every single piece of the show. There are many acts that are unique to the show that you cannot see anywhere else in the world, not just in other circuses, and this was very much the throughline of all the creators for the show,” said Lancaster.

“We have our scientist, whose name is called Le Chercheur, which means ‘to seek’ in French, and we have three other main characters that help him on his journey, and these three characters are called the Curiosistanians, that come from a parallel universe called Curiosistan,” Lancaster said. “Clara, her role is very much to understand and transmit information. So her skirt almost looks like a giant old-fashioned transmitter. Then we have Microcosmos, who, his costume almost looks like the front of a train. He’s the foundation of the group and drives things and ideas forward. And then we have Nico, the accordion man, who has the ability to transform from being very big to very tiny.”

Built on the dedication of many creators, directors and choreographers:

“Usually, it takes about two years for each new show, oh my, to go from storyline to what you see on stage. But it’s that investment in exploration and then collaboration that really creates the unique shows that we have,” Lancaster explained. “My role really takes over at the point the show is created. It’s about taking the show out on the road, once we leave Montreal. So really, my biggest goal is to keep the performers motivated and invested in the show, and to keep the show growing as well… If we did exactly the same thing ten times a week, people would start to lose interest. So my job is to really invest in those performers. How do we keep crafting? How do we tell the story better? How do we evolve?”

“We have one act called Acronet, which is based on almost a trapeze catching net, but it’s transformed to become basically almost like a giant trampoline, but it doesn’t quite work like a regular trampoline. If you were to jump on your own, you’re only going to go a meter, two meters at best. Whereas with a team of people creating tension and collaborating and working together, you can get some of the biggest flights that you will see anywhere in Cirque du Soleil. We’re taking performers up to around 30 feet in the air, and one of those performers has the longest single airtime journey in any show in Cirque,” said Lancaster.

Vocalist Sophie Guay on her journey with Cirque du Soleil:

“It was always a dream for me. From very little, I was singing, and we could hear the song ‘Alegria’ going to the radio, and I was just dreaming of one day being part of the Chapiteau, or ‘Big Top,’ traveling around the world. And I was lucky enough to join a production back in 2011, which is called ‘Corteo,’ and I toured with them for two years, and then after that I joined a show in Mexico. So this one is a resident show. It’s called ‘Joyá,’ and I did the creation for that show… for about three years, and then I joined ‘KURIOS’ in 2017.” 

“I studied as a hairdresser, but I always wanted to be a singer, and I didn’t know, really, how to enter, because… I’m from Saint-Lazare, which is a small town with 2000 people, a little bit far away from the city, I didn’t have access to music school,” recounted Guay. “I was a self-taught singer from very little, and, yeah, it’s always dream that kept me going and reaching for my goal, and kept me moving. And so yeah, when I saw [a theatrical] show in Quebec, and I looked at their hair and their wigs, I was like, ‘For sure I could be a hairdresser on that show, and maybe eventually end up on the stage and be a singer.’ And so this is what I did.”

Cirque du Soleil’s “KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities” is on stage at Atlantic Station through Dec. 24. Tickets and more information are available at