The King of “KOOZA”

The amaz­ing Cirque du Soleil is in town this month with their pro­duc­tion of “KOOZA”. We speak to Gor­don White, who plays the King, about his role in this ex­cit­ing show.

Where Brisbane - - Contents -

What makes “KOOZA” dif­fer­ent to other Cirque productions? “KOOZA” is a re­turn to the grass­roots of the tra­di­tional cir­cus, fo­cus­ing on breath­tak­ing ac­ro­bat­ics and ‘in your face’ slap­stick clown­ing, both of which will keep you on the edge of your seat. “KOOZA” is raw, ex­hil­a­rat­ing, very fun and to­tally en­ter­tain­ing.

Tell us about your char­ac­ter, the King. The King is a very fun role to play… and ‘play’ is the key word be­cause he’s re­ally just like a big child, al­ways liv­ing to­tally in the mo­ment with the at­ten­tion span of a gnat. Although he’s the su­pe­rior to his pair of foot­men who are com­plete fools, the King is the big­gest fool of them all.

“KOOZA” com­bines ac­ro­batic per­for­mance with the art of clown­ing. Do you have a favourite act or part of the show? That’s a com­mon ques­tion, but, hon­estly... no, I don’t. It’d be very dif­fi­cult for me to choose one par­tic­u­lar act or part of “KOOZA” as a favourite. That would be like com­par­ing ap­ples to or­anges for me be­cause ev­ery as­pect of this show is so unique and en­joy­able. You orig­i­nally started with the com­pany back in 1993 and have per­formed in var­i­ous shows like “Sal­tim­banco” and “Varekai”. What made you first join the com­pany? When I first joined the com­pany in ’93 it was Cirque du Soleil who ini­ti­ated things. They were search­ing for some­body to as­sume the fea­tured clown role in “Sal­tim­banco”. At that time, I was rec­om­mended to the di­rec­tors by some­one who had seen my one-man phys­i­cal com­edy show in Van­cou­ver. They called me from Mon­treal, I au­di­tioned… and I ran away with the cir­cus.

What’s it been like see­ing Cirque ex­pand into a huge em­pire with mul­ti­ple shows on dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents? Some­times it feels a bit sur­real, when I look at how many dif­fer­ent Cirque shows and projects that are be­ing pre­sented all over the globe, and then re­alise that I’m ac­tu­ally a part of that ‘huge em­pire’. A very small part, mind you, on the greater scale of things, but still gen­uinely grat­i­fy­ing. You first per­formed in “KOOZA” in 2007. Have you no­ticed changes in the pro­duc­tion be­tween then and now? Oh, yes, for sure. But while keep­ing the main struc­ture and sto­ry­line of the show in­tact, “KOOZA” still con­tin­ues to evolve in mi­nor ways. This is bound to hap­pen nat­u­rally over time as artists and acts de­part to other projects and shows, and new peo­ple come in with fresh ideas and en­ergy. What do you en­joy most about tour­ing the world with Cirque du Soleil? Ap­pre­ci­at­ing a rare op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence so many dif­fer­ent coun­tries, cul­tures and lifestyles first hand. And, in terms of com­edy and clown­ing, I also find it fas­ci­nat­ing to ex­plore the dif­fer­ences of hu­mour from one re­gion or coun­try to an­other. But, ab­so­lutely, the most en­joy­able part of tour­ing the world, by far, is go­ing back home be­tween cities for down time with my fam­ily and our dog!

■ For more in­for­ma­tion on “KOOZA”, see What’s On, on page 4.

The King as part of the clown trio. Photo: Car­los Müller. Cos­tumes: Marie-chan­tale Vail­lan­court. © 2016 Cirque du Soleil.

Gor­don White. Photo: Renè Tanner.

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