Imagine a journey with a fallen boy in a magical land while surrounded by high-intensity acrobatics.
Such imagination will become reality when Cirque du Soleil returns to Knoxville with "Varekai" April 9-13.
"Varekai" follows Icarus, a boy who has broken his wings and collapsed. After he discovers no way to escape, he turns his fear into a desire to explore the new world he landed in. Fabrice Lemire, the artistic director for the show, said "Varekai" is open for interpretation.
He said other than looking at the show as pure entertainment, it can be related to today's world and the people who constantly face change.
"(The audience) escapes from their daily lives," Lemire said. "You've been a bird and you've fallen. It will touch you. You get to be entertained, but you have the beauty of learning something about yourself."
"Varekai" has been in the works since 2002 when a team of creators and designers developed the concept. Lemire, who was also the artistic director for "Quidam" said Cirque du Soleil has to live up to the expectation to be more diverse while keeping with tradition. He compares the various Cirque du Soleil shows to different albums from the same artist, saying the aspect of surprise keep the audience coming back.
For this show specifically, Lemire said "Varekai" is a crowd teaser from the beginning. It is designed to get the audience's attention with high intensity acrobatics paired with momentum breaks that go directly back into more acrobatics, including a 12-man performance swing-to-swing act and a balance wire.
He added that the audience experiences 180 degrees of evolution with the characters throughout the show, experiencing humor as well as personal growth.
"I would like the audience to sit back and let the show teach you – if you are open and allow it," Lemire said. "You may not get the same message as the person sitting next to you. It's simply an interpretation of what you wanted from a character that breaks his wings."
This show is made up of four actors who perform every show of the season. Lemire works with every department of the show and supervises the well-being of these actors.
"Night after night, city after city, these actors have to be able to recreate this world of imagination," Lemire said. "To keep it fresh is hard. It's a lot of mental adjustment to still believe in yourself and what you do, and that's part of what I do."
This recreation of the imaginary world in "Varekai" is what will leave the audience feeling refreshed upon leaving.
"What we have is the fall in the start and the moment that actually makes him turn around and be a better man," Lemire said. "You can be stronger and believe in yourself."
Tickets for Cirque du Soleil's "Varekai" are on sale now and can be purchased at Knoxvilletickets.com. Prices range from $27.50-$145.