"Welcome to our big top full of dreams," Guy Laliberté exclaimed in 1988, following
the smashing success of Le Cirque Réinventé's tour throughout North America.
He would go on to repeat this welcome four years later, only this time not in French
or English, but in Japanese...
On September 16, 1991, after four years of negotiations, Cirque du Soleil signed
an agreement with Fujisankei - Japan's largest entertainment conglomerate - for a
three-month tour. "I saw their act in Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles and I
had to sign them to a tour in Japan," said Fuji managing director Keiichi Tsukuda.
"Cirque du Soleil is doing something that nobody ever tried before and we know it will
play [in Japan]."
The terms of the agreement saw Cirque receive $6 million USD ($8 million CDN) to
stage 118 shows in eight Japanese cities, while Fuji would spend $34 million USD
($46 million CDN) to produce the shows. Fuji would recoup its investment through
ticket sales plus 50% of the profits from boutique sales. "We will not make a profit
on this," Dan Yoshida, Fujisankei's chief negotiator said. "We look on it instead as
the beginning of a partnership."
Cirque du Soleil insisted on its policy of using 50% Quebecois performers, even
though for the Japanese tour it doubled its company to 70 performers. Cirque also
insisted on complete artistic control, Laliberté said, "and we got it." But the
agreement wasn't without compromise. For the first time the Cirque would not perform
under its distinctive blue and yellow big top. A tent could not be erected that would
be large enough to support the costs of the tour, therefore, it was booked into arenas
as large as the 9,000-seater in Yokohama. The smallest venue is the Sunplaza Hall in
Hiroshima, at 4,500. A further factor is that the Japanese have little tradition of
tent entertainment and the civic authorities were unwilling to bend regulations to
permit it. "There are very narrow regulations for fire protection and even typhoons,"
Laliberté said. "It would have cost a million dollars just to erect a tent in Tokyo."
Laliberté termed the new show a mega-spectacle. "I am convinced that the
Japanese public will receive this tour with enthusiasm and that they will be enchanted
by this experience. Coming to Japan has always been in our dreams."
Fascination is a combination of Le Cirque Réinventé (1987-1990) and Nouvelle
Expérience (1990-1993), consisting of many of the acts featured in both. But that's
where the likeness ends. Here the costumes were re-imagined and made brighter and more
colorful. The music was revamped and rethought. Even the set and stage were renewed and
redesigned for this most awesome and unique tour. Many familiar faces fill the stage as
the show continues through the acts and performances. Like some of the older Cirque shows,
Fascination remains one of the most illusive; hopefully, we can shed a little
light on such a colorful world.
|Premiere: ||May 22, 1992
|Type: ||Touring / Arena
|Finale: ||August 31, 1992
New Artistic Creation
Director of Creation
- Tokyo: 5/22/92 - 6/4/92
- Nagoya: 6/7/92 - 6/21/92
- Hiroshima: 6/25/92 - 7/6/92
- Osaka: 7/14/92 - 7/19/92
- Sapporo: 7/24/92 - 8/2/92
- Yokohama: 8/7/92 - 8/16/92
- Sendai: 8/18/92 - 8/24/92
- Kita-Kyushu: 8/27/92 - 8/31/92