Upper left: Publicity photo; Rest: Tiffany Brown / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, April 9, 2008 | 2 a.m.
In Today's Sun
If You Go
- What: “Ka”
- When: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays
- Where: MGM Grand’s Ka Theatre
- Tickets: $69 through $150; 531-2000
- Locals discount: Through Saturday, locals can get a 50 percent discount on $99 and $125 tickets; they must have Nevada ID when picking up tickets.
Beyond the Sun
After more than three years and 1,500 performances, “Ka” continues to evolve even as it bedazzles fans with a breathtaking theater and an amorphous stage that seems to float on air as it serves as mountains, oceans, ships, beaches and jungles.
Cirque du Soleil’s sole plot-driven production follows the adventures of a pair of imperial twins who are separated and must survive in a world in which they are the focal point of the age-old battle good vs. evil. The evil forces have created a deadly weapon out of a secret formula that includes crushed skulls — and they want to use it to dominate. The good forces simply want to live in peace.
We recently talked to four of the lead players, two good and two evil, to get their spin on “Ka” and the roles they play.
Background: Native of Germany; studied drama in Hamburg and mime in Paris in the 1980s; performed solo mime for 20 years in the National Theatre of Hamburg and in various theaters in Paris, Verona, Dresden, Beijing and Shanghai.
“As the Counselor, I am not pleased with the situation (in the nation) so I try to get closer to my boss (the Emperor) and try to marry off my son to his daughter, but the marriage doesn’t take place so we go the violent way, the hard way.
“For sure we have changed the play a lot. I hope we stay as true as we ever can through all these changes to the content of the story. I came in just some months after the first rehearsals and I think I received script version No. 12 or 13, and since then there have been more changes. I’m not used to that. In Germany you have nine weeks of rehearsal and that’s it, no more changes. When the premiere is out, you keep playing this thing for maybe 100 shows, if you’re good, and then the whole thing is done. We have done 1,556 performances as of tonight and we are still changing. But you go with the flow and you try to do your best.”
Role: Counselor’s Son
Background: Native of Montreal, Canada; joined the Ecole Nationale de Theatre du Canada at age 21 and became a professional actor four years later.
“Cirque is trying, from one production to another, to try and look at different ways of expressing things. This one is closest to opera. It’s a unique creation. This time they try to tell a linear story. A lot changed from when we were first working on rehearsals. Once we arrived here in Las Vegas and saw the dimensions of the theater, the look, the makeup of the original story were not efficient anymore. We had to readjust to the space, to redefine the story. Today we often talk about the good guys and bad guys but back then we tried to be careful about that notion. We were trying not to narrow it down by good guys and bad guys. But over time the story became more simplified.”
Role: Court Jester
Background: Native of Belo Horizonte, Brazil; has an identical twin, Kleper; at age 8 Kleber Berto took up capoeira, a traditional Brazilian martial art, to develop his strength; attended Circo del Mundo, a school that teaches circus disciplines.
“I am protector of the twins and the jester, entertaining the court. When I arrived at Cirque in Montreal I was first hired to be a contortionist, but I saw it was not something that I wanted to do. So I trained on my own and one of the directors saw me training. When one of the characters left the show the director asked me if I wanted to do his part and I was happy to say yes. I don’t think the characters on the opposite side are really bad. They are trying for more power, to be more strong. But they are not really bad. In the end everybody gets together, becomes friends.
Background: Native of Duluth, Minn.; principal dancer with the Parsons Dance Company from 1983 to 1994; formed the Gail Gilbert Dance Ensemble in 1996; taught dance workshops and master classes at numerous universities, colleges and dance festivals.
“Overall I think the story is a fight between good and evil, but you get so caught up in what the specific things are, what each of the characters do, that you forget it’s about good and evil. On a more complex level it’s more about challenges on each side. It’s really like a supertragedy and yet it shows what people can overcome, how resilient people are on both sides. It’s such a great moment at the end when they break the bow.”