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12 July 2010,12:46

“Cirque du Soleil allows looking into another man’s soul”

The world-famous Canadian Cirque du Soleil will on August 21 to 26 come on tour to Kazan. The Kazan audience will be demonstrated the Corteo show, staged by Daniele Finzi Pasca, the troupe’s most poetic performance.

Before the much touted show’s premiere in the Tatarstan’s capital, Corteo casting director James Tanabe answered questions from Tatar-inform. He is 32, was born in America and for a long time studied space science until began doing acrobatics and dancing, after which fell in love with the theatre. He is a circus school graduate and the New Circus Asia co-founder.

Q: How did your cooperation with the circus begin?
A: From 2005 I directed circus programmes in Asia, and in 2007 I was contacted by Cirque du Soleil who offered me the casting director position. In the early 2009 I accepted the offer and as an assistant casting director began to work in the Kooza show, within the North America tour – Baltimore, New York, Minneapolis and Denver. Soon I took the casting director job for the Wintuk show, running at Madison Square Garden in New York. Today I am the casting director for the Corteo show in Russia.

Q: What, do you think, Corteo is about?
A: At first sight, the show narrates a clown’s dream in which he sees his own funeral, but the theme is much deeper and broader. It makes me recall my own life, the love that I had, all the fears, joys and wonderful events, and to appreciate my short presence in this world even more.

Q: How, do you predict, the Russian audience will respond to the play? Will it be a success?
A: The Russian audience is quite familiar with acrobatics, theatre, music, art of dancing – so surprising it will be difficult. But the actors do realise the bar has to be set very high each evening, and I have to say they are managing very well. The play’s director Daniele Finzi Pasca’s aesthetics greatly coincide with the Russian sublime taste. Since the premiere in Saint-Petersburg we have every day sensed the wonderful, exhilarating and inspiring energy coming from the audience at our performances.

Q: Please, say what you do in the show – your daily routine and results of your work.
A: The casting director is personally responsible for what is seen and heard from the stage, for the sentiments our troupe fills the hearts of the viewers with. To do that, one needs to see to that the actors have everything to put them in the best shape available for each performance. So our department is in charge of the costumes, physiotherapy, training and working with the stage equipment. I keep track of the actors’s exits, the quality, both technical and artistic, of each act, and I watch the show week after week, making notes, so that the actors always have food for thought, and the show, and the actors themselves, improves professionally and progresses.

Q: What is it that attracts you to the circus and keeps you there?
A: I have for over 25 years done acrobatics, dancing, theatre and circus, as a performer and a director. What attracts me is that an acrobat cannot hide behind their character or a complex choreography. On the contrary, viewers are not simply offered a picturesque pageant, they are allowed a peek into another man’s soul. Working in the circus, we make the every-day existence and every exit to the stage more remarkable and passionate. This is the opposite of stagnation. This is the antonym for complacency.

Prepared by Lucia Kamalova

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