Arts and Culture

Shani Gilchrist



Cirque du Soleil comes to Columbia with “Quidam”

Posted 4/22/2013 7:21:00 PM

“Quidam: a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past and swallowed by the crowd. It could be anyone, anybody. Someone coming or going at the heart of our anonymous society…”

Perhaps Cirque du Soleil’s most poignant show to date, “Quidam” has been exciting audiences around the world. The Montreal-based entertainment company is bringing the show to The Colonial Center in Columbia April 24–28, much to the delight and anticipations of Midlands residents.

I recently had the chance to chat with Jean-Phillipe Viens, who plays the character of Boum-Boum, about the show and the group’s upcoming trip to Columbia. The group visited Charleston in March and was thrilled by the enthusiastic response from the South Carolina audience.

The crowd was captivated by the story of Zoe, a little girl whose parents are wrapped up in the minutiae and worries of the everyday. “Her mom is lost in thought, her dad is lost in the newspaper, and she gets a bit bored and finds her escape through an imaginary world, which is the world of quidam,” Viens said. This world is introduced to her by an unusual stranger who shows her that every person we walk past each day has a past, present and future, Viens continued. With this in mind, the audience will be introduced to the unique characteristics of each individual character through dazzling acrobatics and visual effects.

With 52 cast members from all over the world who are trained in a variety of specialties, this will not be a show to forget. Each cast member comes to the company with a specialty.

“My specialty is the Spanish web, the vertical ropes which is what I was hired for,” Viens said. But, as anyone who witnesses a performance will notice, each member of the cast is multifaceted in his or her talents. “I think anyone who does circus performing likes to multiply their skills, so we all train with each other. For example, when I first started in “Quidam” I had never done the skipping rope before. So I was trained in Montreal, where we are based, and pretty much all Cirque du Soleil artists learn their part.”

While training together in Montreal and on the road, the artists share their skills with each other. “We have special training for each act,” Viens continued. “Also, we have our own personal conditioning on the side. I come from a background of martial arts, so two nights a week I teach a mixed martial arts fitness class.”

The result of such collaboration is an artistic company that puts on some of the most recognizable and unique shows in the world. Tickets are still available, so don’t miss your opportunity to see the wonder of Cirque du Soleil in person. Ticket prices range from $29.50 to $92. For more information on show times, please visit Cirque du Soleil’s ticketing page.