Kà is a resident Cirque du Soleil production created and directed by Robert Lepage. Kà had a show preview on November 26, 2004. The official premiere was on February 3, 2005 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.
Kà is the first Cirque du Soleil show to have a cohesive storyline. Ka is the story of "imperial twins who are separated at the prime of their youth and must undergo a rite of passage of self-discovery. It is about their encounters with Kà, the fire that has the dual power to destroy or illuminate."
- 1 Synopsis / Plot
- 2 Set and Technical Information
- 3 Costume Design
- 4 Characters
- 5 Acts
- 6 Music
- 7 Filmography
- 8 Comic Book Adaptation
- 9 In Popular Culture
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Video
- 12 References
- 13 External Links
Synopsis / Plot
The story of Kà is the coming of age story about the Imperial Twin Brother and Sister Royal Court escaping an attack by the opposing tribe the Archers. Seperated in their escape, the twins try to reunite together and fight against the forces of the Archers and their leaders The Counselor and his Son.
Plot (Expand for full summary)
Opening / Pageant
The story of Kà begins with the Imperial Twins coming back home on The Royal Barge. The Twins are welcomed by their mother, father, and the entire Royal Court. In celebration of their return, the Royal Court holds a pageant containing many various acts such Wushu, baton juggling, and Brazilian Capoeira Dancing. The Twin then perform on their flutes while one of The Valets juggles.
As the celebration comes to an end, a group of Archers lead by the Chief Archer and the Counselor attack the Royal Court killing the Emperor and the Empress. The surviving members flee for their lives as the The Royal Court is set ablaze. The Nursemaid, The Court Jester, The Valets, and the Imperial Twins try to escape on a boat, but the Twin Brother doesn't make it in time due to being shot by an arrow and is left behind. The Court Jester jumps from the boat and rushes the Twin Brother to safety while the others make their escape to the sea.
Out at sea, the remaining members of the Royal Court sail into an oncoming storm. The storm tears down the mass and rough waters fling the crew members off the boat. The boat takes on water and begins to sink. As the boat sinks to the bottom of the sea, The Nursemaid is drowning. She is rescued by the Twin Sister who brings both of them to the surface.
Back at the Archer's Den, the Counselor, the Chief Archer, the Archers and the Spearmen celebrate their victory in destruction of the Royal Court. The Chief Archer's Daughter appears and joins her father. The Counselor's Son appears with the Twin Brother's flute and gives it to the The Chief Archer's Daughter as a gift of flattery.
The Son then reveals a model for his new contraption: The Death Machine. He demonstrates to the Chief Archer how combining bones and a magical ore used in the machine will make a powder that produces fire. This new powder will then be used by the Archer Tribe to conquer all of the Empire.
Washing Upon A Shore
Meanwhile, the Twin Sister, the Nursemaid, and the Valets wake up on a sandy beach and are greeted by the beach animals. The group gets seperated when running away from the animals.
As the Chief Archer's Daughter is wandering outside, she notices the Twin Brother and the Court Jester take refuge in a cave. She hides and observes the Court Jester tending to the Brother's wounds. To distract the Twin Brother from their situation. the Court Jester performs shadow puppets on the cave wall.
The Court Jester hears a sound and notices that the Archers have been following them. The Court Jester tries to fend them off, but the Twin Brother and Court Jester are captured and taken back to the Archer's Den. The Chief Archer's Daughter follows in pursuit.
Meanwhile, the Twin Sister and Nursemaid reunite with the Valets. They notice that there is a tribesman covered in winter gear at the top of a cliff on the side of a mountain willing to help them out. Just as the group begins to the mountain to the cliff, a group of Archers spots the group and they then begin to climb to escape the Archers. The Valets are captured and the Nursemaid and the Twin Sister make their escape with the tribesman.
The Nursemaid and the Twin Sister make it to the top of the mountain to the tribesman's camp. The Archers eventually find the group and the Twin Sister is led by the Mountain Tribe to escape on their Flying Machine. The Nursemaid and some of the Tribesmen are captured.
Soaring into the sky, the Twin Sister holds on for dear life to the Mountain Tribe's Flying Machine, but eventually falls into a lush forest.
At the Archer's Den, the Counselor shows the Chief Archer the progress of the Death Machine. The Twin Brother, the Court Jester, the Nursemaid, and the Valets are brought into captivity and set in cages. The Chief Archer's Daughter sees the group being locked up and goes to the Twin Brother's cage. She offers him water and gives back the Twin Brother's flute back to him, he plays a flute melody for her and the two fall in love with each other. She lets him loose and gives her the flutes as a thank you gift. He then releases the Court Jester and both escape. All this time, the Counselor's Son observes the romantic bind between the two. Consume by grief, rage, and jealousy, the Son prepares for war.
As the Twin Sister is falling through the forest, she is then rescued by the Firefly Boy who is leader of the Forest Tribe. The two fall in love with each other, but the Twin Sister has to leave in order to find her brother.
At the Archer's Den, the Death Machine is completed and the Counselor's Son puts two of the former Royal Courts servants to work in the machine. As this is happening, the Counselor betrays the Chief Archer, blinds him using the fire powder, and claims control of the Archers. In their betrayal, an Archer kicks the Chief into the chasm below and he dies. Eventually, the Twin Brother and the Court Jester breaks into the slave cages with the help of the Chief Archer's Daughter and begins attacking the Archers. Freeing all the captured servants, the Valets, the Nursemaid, and the Mountain Tribe, the twins finally reunite.
As the Counselor and the Son prepare to take over the rest of the Empire, the Twins with the help of the Court Jester and Forest Tribe lead a counterattack in victory. Feeling defeated, the Counselor cries out in anguish. He then rushes to his defeated son who was been blinded by the powder of his own invention.
The Twins and company return to the Royal Court and celebrate their victory. Now rules of the Empire, each marry their love interest and make peace with the Chief Archer who breaks his bow as a symbol of peace. To their surprise, the Counselor and blinded Counselor's Son appears before them. To show the error of their ways, the Son uses the explosive substance as fireworks. The show ends in a celebration.
Set and Technical Information
The Sand Cliff Deck and the Tatami Deck
The Kà stage is made up of two giant moving platforms; the Sand Cliff Deck and the Tatami Deck, five small lifts, and platforms that appear in the bottomless space. The pit of the stage drops 51 ft. (16 m.) amounting to 15 stories from the ceiling to the floor. The width and depth of the performance area is 120 ft (37 m.). The Sand Cliff Deck measures 25×50×6 ft. ( 7.6 × 15.2 × 1.8 m ) and weighs 50 tons. The stage can rotate 360 degrees, tilt from flat to forward to 100 degrees and track the deck up and down vertically.
The second platform, Tatami Deck, is an animated stage that is 30 x 30 ft ( 9.1 x 9.1 m. ) and weighs 75,000 tons (34,000 kg). It is powered by 100 Hp electric motors and is capable of gliding up to 45 ft. towards the audience. In 2008, the floating stages won a Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association for "Outstanding Technical Achievement".
The theater and stage were designed by British architect Mark Fisher. The structure design and engineering of the stage was done by the McLaren Engineering Group. The torsion, wrist, and arm assembly were done by the mining equipment company Timberland Equipment. The Kà theater, which has a capacity of 1950 people, is equipped with a total of 4774 loudspeaker drivers in 2139 cabinet. Each seat has two speakers into the back to provide an eerie effect. The show and the theater cost $165 million to develop.
Whenever any of the performers are on any of the floating platforms, an array of air bags supported by two safety nets are 70 ft. ( 21 m. ) below them. Traditional safety nets cannot be used due to the speed of the performer's fall. Each airbag consists of a number of separate cells, each of which can inflate and deflate independently. In case of a power outage, each of the airback pumps has its own uninterruptible power supply and can last up to 30 minutes.
The Sandcliff Deck when vertical can produce pegs from its structure and are used during "The Climb" scene. Each peg has a sensor and will not release if it detects if something is blocking it. The pegs can only contract with less than 20 lbs of pressure, so it will stay if a performer is still hanging on to one. The wall also contains backup pegs to be used as a ladder in case anything goes wrong.
In the event that one of the wires or harnesses malfunctions, a fail-safe device automatically lowers them down over an aisle.
Since the Kà Theater is connected to the MGM Grand, before every pyrotechnic stunt, the stage manager requests that MGM’s fire officer temporarily override the fire detection equipment in the theatre for the duration of the stunt; then it’s switched back on. This happens three or four times in every show. Because fire detection can only be overridden before a fire is detected, if someone actives a fire alarm anywhere in the shops or restaurants surrounding the theatre then all of KA’s pyrotechnic effects have to stop.
Accidents and Incidents
Further Information: Sarah Guyard-Guillot
On June 29, 2013, performer Sarah Guy-Guillot fell 94 feet ( 29 m ) during the final battle scene at the 9:30 performance. She was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada where she died of blunt force trauma on the way to the hospital. It was the first reported death in Cirque du Soleil's 30 year history and the second accident at a Cirque Show to happen in the same week.
Further performances were put on hold indefinitely. A modified version of Kà premiered on July 14, 2013 where the final battle scene was removed and replaced with two acts "Hand Balancing" and "Dressing Rehearsal". The original format of the show came back July 23, 2013.
A six month OSHA Investigation occured and issued six citations totaling $25,000 in fines and penalties for Cirque du Soleil Nevada, and three citations totaling $7,000 for the MGM Grand. Cirque du Soleil appealed to the citations and on November 2013, all but one citation were withdrawn by the agency investigators.
For the costumes of Kà, Asian visual iconography was used as an inspiration. The Imperial Twins have silks that were inspired by painters from Japan, Korea, and India.
A new screening technique was used to make some of the skin tight costumes for some of the performers. This can be seen in the Forest Tribe's, Archers', and the Counselor's Son's costumes. Skin-toned Tactel was used for the Archers' selected and tattoo designs. This was to make the Archers' tattoos look realistic. Moulded rubber toes attached to the Archers' shoes, giving the appearance that they are barefoot. Tattooing techniques used for the Archers were also applied to the Counselor's Son.
- The Imperial Twins: Daughter and Son to the Emperor and Empress, they are the main characters of Kà.
- The Nursemaid: The Twins' guardian, she is charged with watching over and caring for the Twins in their young age.
- The Court Jester: Fool of the Royal Court, The Court Jester shares a bond with The Twin Brother.
- The Counselor: Leader of the Archer Tribe and main antagonist of Kà. With the help of his Son and his Death Machine, The Counselor sets his sights to conquer the Empire.
- The Counselor's Son: Second Antagonist of Kà, He is the designer of the Death Machine, a contraption that grinds bones with a special mineral ore in order to create a gunpowder like substance. He is in love with the Chief Archer's Daughter.
- The Chief Archer: The General of the Archer forces. He leads the attack on the Royal Court.
- The Chief Archer's Daughter: Daughter to the opposing Tribe of the Royal Court. She falls in love with the Twin Brother and begins to have conflicting loyalty.
- The Valets: Servants to the Royal Court. They always get into trouble and help out the Twin Sister.
- The Firefly Boy: A Tarzan-like character who is the Forest Tribe Leader, he falls in love with the Twin Sister.
- The Mountain Tribe: A group of tribesmen and women living on top of a mountain who rescue the Twin Sister and Nursemaid.
- The Forest Tribe: The creatures that live in the forest where the Twin Sister falls into.
- The Emperor and Empress: the mother and father of the Imperial Twins.
- The Animals: Sea creatures met on a beach after the Twin Sister, the Nursemaid, and the Valets wash ashore after the storm.
Pre-Shows: Unlike the earlier Cirque du Soleil productions that only have one pre-show, Kà has four separate pre-shows.
- When the theater opens, guest are greeted by the villagers of Kà known as "The Gatekeepers".
- Twenty minutes before the show begins, two musicians play two string instruments in the lobby that are integrated into the architecture.
- Ten minutes before the show, Archers and Spearmen appear in the post and beams above the theater to perform flips, leaps, and dives into the audience assisted by rope.
- Five minutes before the show, The Evil Councilor comes out out and performs a staged act to remind the audience of no flash photography or cell phone usage allowed.
Opening: The stage acts like a giant boat as the Twins perform Wushu as it spins.
Pageant: A variation of acts that contains Chinese Opera, Brazilian Capoeira dancing, Wushu, baton juggling, and cigar box juggling.
Icarian Games ( Pageant) : Four artist perform an Icarian Games act for the Twins and the Royal Family.
Culbuto (Storm): A large Culbuto-like act where the middle pole acts like a mass of a ship.Various actors would jump off the ship-like culbuto.
The Deep: A scene where the nursemaid is rescued by the Twin Sister.
Archer's Den: A scene where the archer's celebrate and the Son of the Counselor demonstrates a model for a contraption he his making: The Death Machine.
Clown Act (Wash-up On Shore): The valets interact with a large crab, turtle, centipede, and starfish puppets.
Shadow Puppets (Shadows): Twin Brother and the Court Jester do shadow puppets.
Tumbling (The Climb): The Twin Sister, The Valets, and the Nursemaid try to escape the Archers. The Valets and the Archers swing and tumble against the stage and show acrobatic moves as the stage spins.
Clown Act (Blizzard): The Mountain Tribe ascend the mountain and fight over fish.
Archers Attack: A scene where the Mountain Tribe and the Twin Sister escape in a flying machine.
Baton Twirling (Captivity/Flutes): The Archer's Daughter performs a Baton Twirling act.
Aerial Straps Duet (The Forest): The Firefly Boy and the Twin Sister perform a Aerial Straps Duet.
Wheel of Death (Slave Cage:) A double Wheel of Death in the front with a triple Wheel of Death in the back. Two performers do various tricks as the wheel spins.
Bungee (Finale Battle): The stage goes 90 degrees and the performers repel on it's touchscreen surface.
Aftermath: A celebration of the finale with a display of fireworks coming below the stage and a giant Catherine Wheel (a pinwheel with fireworks attached to it. When ignited, the fireworks make the wheel spin).
Pillars: Taking place after the Shadow Puppets scene,Performers leapt over pillars whilst displaying their martial arts and acrobatic skills. The pillars were around 22 inches in diameter and 15 feet tall. It was taken out of the show however after director Robert Lepage felt that it didn't fit into the show well and also the act was quite dangerous and caused many injuries to the artists so was eventually taken out.
After the death of Sarah Guy-Guillot, the final battle scene was replaced with the following acts:
Hand Balancing: A performer hand balances on a piece of furniture. This scene was integrated into the Dressing Ritual scene.
Dressing Ritual: A scene where both Twins get dressed before the finale ceremony.
Kà's music was originally supposed to be composed by Benoît Jutras. Due to creative differences, Benoît left the show and the music was then composed by René Dupéré.
- Beth Quist - November 2004 - December 2006
- Julie McInnes - November 2004 - December 2011
- Lionel Hamel (Backup) - November 2004 - Present
- Kate St-Pierre - November 2006 - January 2007
- Rochelle Collins - April 2007 - Present
- Shana Tucker - December 2011 - December 2016
- Lizzy Munson - December 2016 - Present
For more information on the songs featured in Kà , please visit Kà (Soundtrack).
Kà Extreme was a 2005 documentary showing behind the scene look at the creation of Kà.
Kà - Backstage , a 90 minute long documentary exclusively for French Language TV channel, Arte, and the German TV Station ZDF. It aired on ZDF December 28, 2007.
A filmed performance of Kà was shown for ZDF.
Comic Book Adaptation
Further Information: Kà (Comic Book)
Cirque du Soleil partnered with Marvel Entertainment to make a three part limited edition comic series based on the story of Kà. The Kà comic was written by Bryan J.L. Glass, artist Wellinton Alves, and colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu. The first issue debut at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con on July 12 to July 15. The second issue was released at the 2013 New York Comic-Con on October 10 to October 13 with the final issue release the next year at the 2014 New York Comic-Con on October 9 to October 12.
In Popular Culture
Kà was apart of the 2007 NBA All-Star Game Halftime Show.
On June 27, 2011, cast members from Kà participated in a San Diego Padres game. This includes the first pitch, national anthem, and the 7th-inning stretch. There was also a performance of traditional Chinese and Brazilian martial arts before the game.
Interior of the Theater
Behind The Scenes
- Robert Lepage (Kà Creator) (2005). KÀ EXTREME (DVD). Quebec, Canada: Productions Conte, Inc
- Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in Chinese, English, French, and Japanese). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 80–81. ISBN .
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