KOOZA, which premiered in Montreal, Cirque du Soleil's home base, in April of 2007, has been touring North America since, having played engagements in such cities as San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto and Philadelphia to rave reviews and sold-out big tops.
Robert Hurwitt in The San Francisco Chronicle called KOOZA "breath-taking and heart-stopping," adding. "KOOZA is Cirque du Soleil at the top of its form." Chris Jones in The Chicago Tribune raved "KOOZA exemplifies the best of the Cirque du Soleil tradition. KOOZA shows how Cirque knows how to always do something totally fresh and different without compromising its color or its quality. It's a flawlessly executed, hard-edged, hard-driving, ambitiously contemporary affair."
The name KOOZA is inspired by the Sanskrit word "koza" which means "box," "chest" or "treasure," and was chosen because one of the underlying concepts of the production is the idea of a "circus in a box."
KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil that combines two circus traditions - acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.
"KOOZA is about human connection and the world of duality, good and bad," says the show's writer and director David Shiner. "The tone is fun and funny, light and open. The show doesn't take itself too seriously, but it's very much about ideas, too. As it evolves we are exploring concepts such as fear, identity, recognition and power."
The show starts with The Trickster bursting onto the scene like a jack-in-a-box right in front of The Innocent, and that is just the first of many surprises to follow. The Innocent's journey brings him into contact with a panoply of comic characters such as the King, the Trickster, the Heimloss, the Pickpocket, the Obnoxious Tourist and his Bad Dog.
Between strength and fragility, laughter and smiles, turmoil and harmony, KOOZA explores themes of identity, recognition and power. The show is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, audacity and total involvement.
Several of the 53 performing artists in the show have received awards from important circus arts competitions, notably in juggling and trapeze.
The show presents an unprecedented approach to the High Wire and a breathtaking Wheel of Death - an act that Cirque du Soleil has never before presented under the big top.
KOOZA opens next in the city of Irvine, U.S.A. on January 8, 2010.