So what is the difference between “Quidam” and the other Cirque du Soleil shows that have come through South Florida?
“I would say that ‘Quidam’ is closer to theater,” says Luc Ouellette, artistic director for the show coming to the BB&T Center in Sunrise for nine performances starting Wednesday. “It’s more human, more about the individual. There is a story with this little girl Zoe.”
It takes an international cast of 52 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors to tell the story of bored little Zoe, who is ignored by her parents and slips into an imaginary world called Quidam. In French law, the Latin word “quidam” is used to describe an unknown person.
“She gets to have this big adventure in this dream, this nightmare,” Ouellette says. “There are remnants of incredible people, and maybe they were in her life before. They are real people. You can almost recognize yourself when you look at them.”
“Quidam” began as a Montreal big-top show in 1996 before going on to tour five continents. Ouellette came on board in 2003 for the show’s Japanese tour. He then worked for various other Cirque du Soleil productions — including “Alegria” on tour, “O” in Las Vegas and “Zed” in Tokyo — before returning in 2012 to transition “Quidam” from the big top to the arena.
“It was really going back to what I love. With arenas, I thought it would be fun to mentor them [the performers], and to bring back some of the images we started with,” he says. “What they do and what they have in their head is different with arenas.”
Ouellette says he also wanted to keep the introspective nature of the show intact, and to build the characters of the performers.
“Of course, I was afraid,” he recalls. “But by now, I have seen many shows moved into arenas. We don’t lose much. It’s not a blue sky, but that’s about it. The structure will always be there. The extent is the same. We don’t put the stage on one end of the arena … so we do have the same feeling of sitting in a big top.”
Quidam by the numbers
The show uses about 250 costumes and 500 accessories.
The performers’ 200 to 300 shoes are hand-painted to blend with their costumes.
Thirty hats and 20 wigs are featured.
The abstract, rotating set is designed to resemble an airport or train station.
Six musicians play a variety of instruments.
IF YOU GO:
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 3:30 p.m. matinees Friday-Saturday; 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise
Cost: $40-$95 for adults; $32-$76 for children (under the age of 12) and $36-$85 for military, seniors and students
Contact: 800-745-3000 or CirqueDuSoleil.com/quidam.