No.2 / Top 10 lighting experiences: Cirque du Soleil, Las Vegas

April 06 2011 — by Jonathan Speirs
I love theatre and rock and roll productions so I suppose the amalgam of the two that is a Cirque du Soleil show, would always prove to be a powerful inspiration. Luc Lafortune has been the original lighting designer for all the Cirque shows since they began in 1984.

Photo: Dominique Lemieux / Cirque du Soleil

Luc is someone I am pleased to say I have gotten to know over the years. A man for whom I have huge respect and admiration, Luc crafts light into a significant and integral part of the overall production. He feels light. He once told me that the director, the lighting designer, the set designer, musical director and costume designer would spend six months brainstorming concepts before they got down to the detailing of the production. This significant conceptual period resulted in a stronger end result that is magical and alive. I often wonder if the architectural profession and their clients could benefit from a similarly extended creative period to guarantee better results.

I must have seen Mystère in Vegas 8 or 9 times and yet it still remains a pleasure to watch. The aquatic show O, also staged in Vegas, contains hidden depths (pun fully intended), and has to be seen several times – as new aspects are revealed with each viewing. Although I also enjoy their travelling big-top productions, it is the custom-built theatres and permanent venues where Cirque are able to truly demonstrate how they have reinvented the whole genre with regard to audience appreciation and theatrical expectation.

Pick one show. You won’t be disappointed. And, if you make it all the way to Vegas you'd be foolish not to see more than one.

Jonathan Speirs