Corteo tells the story of the funeral of Mauro The Dream Clown. As friends, family, and the circus troupe Mauro was a part of mourns over their loss, his spirit awakens and he begins to watch his own funeral. The show transforms into a dream sequence of past memories of Mauro’s life that is equal parts ridiculous and tragic, mixing perfection and imperfection, and plunging the audience into a theatrical world of wonderment, comedy, and spontaneity.
Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux created over 260 costumes for Corteo’s cast using more than a hundred different fabrics and trims. Most of the fabrics used in Cirque performances are treated and dyed in-house at their costume workshop. (Side note: Are they hiring? Asking for a friend…) They use more than 4 miles of fabric from around the world to create their intricate stage outfits and sets.
The show’s curtains were inspired by an 1855 painting by the Parisian artist Adolphe Willette. These two enormous curtains were sewn in Canada and then sent to France to be painted, which took more than two weeks to paint.
Here’s some facts for the gear heads out there. Corteo features a variety of innovative acrobatic equipment that Cirque du Soleil quite literally invented.
You may be wondering, “but how do they change the set so seamlessly?” The most complex set element in the show, dubbed The Patience, is a humongo steel structure that has rails which traverse the stage. Each rail has platform-like carts which carry stuff and it is all entirely suspended 40 feet above the stage. Wowzers.
Let’s learn some really cool lingo and then we’re practically acrobats. That’s how that works, right?
Tramponet: A combination of trampoline and safety net for slingshotting acrobats.
Cyr Wheel: It’s like a giant metal hula hoop that you can stand inside.
Teeterboard: A super cool seesaw for professional acrobats to launch each other off of.
Hula-Hoop: Ok, you know what this one is already. BUT, did you know the performers can spin up to eight on their person at one time?!
Lustres: The giant chandeliers that float mid-air above the stage that are decorated with 4,000 some-odd jewels and garlands. Ice, ice, baby.
Did you see Corteo and now you are absolutely obsessed? Have you been dancing around your home as if you are a 19th century Italian circus clown? Whether you answered yes or no to any of the above questions, you can still listen to the official Corteo playlist and transport yourself into a magical world. Just be careful and don’t launch yourself off any furniture, ok?