“The show starts with amphibians and ends with astronauts going into space. … It’s all about a quest about always pushing further limits, and moving onwards and upwards,” said “Totem” publicist Francis Jalbert, of Montreal. “It’s inspired by a lot of ancient traditions and civilizations. … The turtle often represents the earth, so the main stage of totem is a turtle’s stomach.”
He said the set of “Totem,” designed by Carl Fillion, reveals the organic world with a marsh-lined stage and images from all over the world, projected on a screen displaying natural elements like waterfalls, swamps, lakes, boiling lava and a starry sky.
“We went all over the world to shoot the images that are being projected. The images change in each act, so the mood changes,” he said. “I think it will make people think about the beauty of our planet.”
The show’s 250 costumes with “real-life elements” are all handmade in Montreal by designer Kym Barrett, who Jalbert said researched animals, plants and traditional cultural and tribal designs to source her final ensembles.
“We’re not taking people to an imaginary world,” he said. “It’s really based in nature. It’s really a show that’s familiar to the environment of the world. The images we have are just so realistic and so beautiful.”
Although Jalbert said the show was not created especially for children, he said there is something for everybody in the 2½-hour show.
“It really appeals to everyone, from 4- to 77-year-olds,” he said. “There is no spoken language in the show, so whatever your background is, you can relate to what’s going on. It’s like we’re giving you the crayons to draw the interpretation of what you see, and add your own emotions to it. … It is a universal show.”
"Totem," written and directed by Robert Lepage of Québec, started in April 2010, and has been performed in Canada, Amsterdam and London, and the U.S. for the past year. It will stay in Atlanta at Atlantic Station until Dec. 16.
If you go:
o What: Cirque du Soleil's "Totem"
o When: Oct. 26 through Dec. 16
o Where: Atlantic Station
o Tickets: $48.50 to $153.50
o Information: www.cirquedusoleil.com