UPDATE: Unfortunately IRIS has closed. However, there are dozens of Cirque du Soleil shows performing all over the world at any given time. If you have the opportunity, be sure to experience one — I’ve yet to be disappointed!
Sensational. Stunning. Stupendous. Just about any superlative would be fitting for IRIS: A Journey Through the World of Cinema, the newest masterpiece from world-famous Cirque du Soleil. It premiered only two weeks ago and yesterday I had the chance to experience it with my entire family. Held at its permanent home, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, the production takes spectators on “a voyage through the history of cinema and its genres.” From silent films to talkies, black & white to color and animation to the current 3D craze, this new show definitely will appeal to audiences of all ages. IRIS blends reality with film clips, live video, light and shadows, creating a dream world like you’ve never imagined.
As you may have figured out, the name “Iris” refers to the adjustable opening that controls the amount of light that passes through a camera lens (as well as the human eye.) Like all of Cirque du Soleil’s shows, IRIS showcases mind-blowing acrobatics, sumptuous costumes and sets, and phantasmagorical imagery. The plot centers around the romance of two young Hollywood archetypes—Buster (the humble hero) and Scarlett (the ingénue turned movie star)—as they find themselves lost in the chaos of a film set.
The first acrobatic performance features identical twins soaring directly over the audience, swinging from ropes in poetic, mirror-image synchronicity. Another highlight of the show is a lavish trampoline act with gangsters and cops bouncing off the rooftops. There are unbelievable acts of contortion, tumbling and trapeze as well. I also really enjoyed a frenetic dance number featuring the entire ensemble dressed in costumes of every genre from westerns and film noir to sci-fi, adventure and slapstick. The show’s finale is an explosion of glittering confetti and streamers and of course, a standing ovation from the awe-struck audience.
IRIS was written and directed by first-time Cirque collaborator, Philippe Decouflé and Danny Elfman (best known for his film scores for director Tim Burton) composed the vibrant original score. Elfman’s quirky style lent itself perfectly to the artistry of Cirque du Soleil.
The show features a cast of more than 72 performing artists from fifteen countries around the world, including Spain, China, Kazakhstan and the United States. The estimated cost of IRIS is $100 million—$40 million to retrofit the theater and $60 million for the production itself. It’s expected that there will be 368 performances annually. And, in case you were wondering, The Kodak Theatre will continue to host the Academy Awards every January as well. IRIS is definitely something that visitors to Los Angeles should plan on fitting into their itinerary.
|What: Cirque du Soleil’s newest production, IRIS: A Journey Through the World of Cinema.
Where: The Kodak Theater, located at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028. There is plenty of on-site parking, or there’s a Metro Red Line station conveniently located at the adjacent Hollywood & Highland Centre too.
When: 2011 performances are held from Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. (with the exception of Saturday December 24 at 1 p.m.), and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. There are no performances on Mondays. Tickets are on sale now.
How much: Tickets range in price from $43 to $133 (with VIP tickets at $253.) VIP ticket holders get priority seating in the front few rows of the orchestra section, complimentary parking, a free beverage, and a souvenir program.
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