Exposé by Gillian Daniels
(East Boston, MA) The day I watch the tent raised in Boston, the sky is blue and cloudless. The tent itself is partially up but looks like a deflated balloon. Men and women in hard hats stand around the interior circumference, speaking French Canadian-accented and Boston-tinged English.
Any circus needs a main tent, and Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities is no exception. This is Cirque du Soleil before it puts on its sequins and tights.
But they’re ready. At each section of the tent, there is a rush forward as the workmen push the poles up. Only afterward do they go around and lock them into place. This is the core before everything else is added, before even the stage and safety net are set up.
Kurios is described to us as a show about nineteenth century innovation meant to mirror contemporary s technology. It pivots on the imagery of childhood and travel: bicycles, over-the-top mad science, hot air balloons, trains, and, I’m assured, a large chair meant to evoke a break from reality.
The last shows to come to Boston from Cirque du Soleil, Amaluna and Totem, are tied much more closely to the natural world. Here, posters around town prominently feature gears and an acrobat with accordion-like legs. Its name, derived from “curios,” already focuses on displaced objects. There’s a kinetic, steampunk feel.
I’m told it’s longer to set up the tent than take it down. Setting up means ideal weather and racing the sun. There are sixty-five trailers of things to unpack, but the tent is just one piece. Take it out and you need a team to lift it skyward. After, you fold it up and you’re done.