BMFLs light Cirque du Soleil Fuzion show
Tuesday, 26 July 2022
robe-fuzion-0105-1280Fuzion was staged at the King Abdallah Sports City (KASC) stadium in Jeddah (photo: Mikki Kunttu)
Saudi Arabia - Fuzion is a specially commissioned new Cirque du Soleil production that was staged at the King Abdallah Sports City (KASC) stadium in Jeddah for the 2022 Jeddah Season Festival.
Directed by Mukhtar Omar Sharif Mukhtar with creative direction by Stefan Miljevic, the lighting and set was designed by Mikki Kunttu who used 186 x Robe BMFL moving lights – making up half of the lighting rig.
Mikki was based in Montreal at Cirque du Soleil’s international HQ immediately for the two years before the pandemic, when he returned home to his native Finland, and relished being onboard and again. He added his own creative magic to this production which ran for 32 intense action and adrenaline-packed 75-minute performances.
The lighting brief included making an “elegant, theatrical, and vivid” impact, with the goal of recreating the splendour and atmosphere of a classic big-top whilst ensuring that each guest experienced a similar sense of intimacy as experienced in a classic big top setting.
The show narrative was based on the adventures of two best friends, Antonio & Sebastian, who, with the world in need of more creativity, friendship & love, embarked on a quest to create magical universes in which these can flourish.
Very strong lighting visuals were at the core of the overall concept, so Mikki was “delighted” to work with 127 x BMFL Blades and 59 x BMFL WashBeams as the primary lighting fixtures, supplied by lighting vendor, PRG Middle East.
“The BMFL is a fantastic multipurpose fixture and I think it was a game-changer in so many ways. It’s still a great workhorse, widely recognized worldwide and you know what to expect in terms of quality and excellence.”
The set and lighting design took ‘big-top shows’ as a starting point, working with a similar shaped stage as classic Cirque productions with stage and lighting rigs shaped to accommodate acts like the Wheel of Death combined with the close proximity of a 270-degree audience. Unlike a traditional big-top venue where the rigging, flying and access is restricted by the nature of the construction, the Jeddah venue gave them maximum flexibility with all the space and production facilities you could dream of.
While Mikki needed plenty of power and brightness to light the show in that ample space, there’s a definite art to lighting acrobatics which entails extreme attention to detail, total accuracy and diligent programming to ensure ultimate safety as well as drama!
There must be sufficient light for the aerial and other artists to see each other and their various grab-points and props safely, with all the simultaneous crowd-pleasing lighting effects expected of a nail-biting, high octane Cirque extravaganza.
“Safety and making it look awesome are both critical elements naturally and I always try to deliver both within the same solution. The safety factor is not an add-on, but an integral part of the design from the outset,” noted Mikki.
All the BMFLs were positioned at the back of Cirque’s custom circular and rigged above their circular stage on LX bars 1 and 2, and they were not used in any sort of conventional way.
Mikki worked alongside two programmers Matti Leinonen on lighting and Alex Hautamäki mainly on video and some lighting, all three using grandMA2 light consoles. Video content was designed by Olivier Goulet, and Matti remained in Jeddah to run lighting and video for the Season Festival duration.
Marie-Josée Adam was the executive producer / head of creation. Props were designed by Madeleine Bernatchez and included a disappearing tent comprising 28 x 22m-long fabric panels that ‘evaporated’ in seconds. John Caran and Geneviève Dorion-Coupal were the acrobatic choreographers, and the acrobatic performances were designed by Germain Guillemot.
The musical director, composer and arranger was Hugo Montecristo, with music played live by a six-piece band.
One hundred and fifty people in total were involved in the creation and production, with 25 technicians running the show and 39 cast members from 13 different countries.

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