Growing up with Cirque
When Gabriel Dube-Dupuis watches Quidam — something he does every time the Cirque du Soleil show is mounted right now — he sees more than the audience.
That’s saying something, given how packed the show that opens tomorrow (Aug. 15) at Interior Savings Centre is with thrills, spectacle and breath-taking moments.
As general stage manager, Dube-Dupuis has to watch for the tiniest misstep or miscue so he can talk with his performers about it and work to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
But, Dube-Dupuis said, he also sees the entirety of the show — and he has moments that continue to make him hold his breath in amazement.
Such is the quality of the work that creates Cirque shows.
Dube-Dupuis has had a longer time than most to learn of the potential the world-renowned circus continues to master.
His father, Francois, was one of the Montreal street performers who joined together more than a quarter-century ago to create the company.
In fact, his dad continues to perform as a clown in shows that are based in Las Vegas.
One might think Dube-Dupuis’s career path would have been set to also hit the stage but he said he learned at an early age he preferred to be backstage — or, on show nights, at the back of the house at the control booth.
“When I was nine or 10, my dad organized an audition for me for a play,” Dube-Dupuis said.
“And, I had a blast doing it. Then, they picked someone else and I was crushed. But I grew up in a backstage area and it’s a better fit for me.”
A unique aspect of Quidam is the telepherique, a specially designed aerial conveyer Quidam creator Franco Dragone wanted to avoid having to break the flow of the show to bring acts on or off stage.
It makes the transitions seamless and ensures a constancy to the two-hour show.
“It creates more operatic moments,” Dube-Dupuis said.
Whether he’s watching a performance or overseeing training, Dube-Dupuis said it’s his job to ensure Dragone’s vision remains constant.
“I’m not seen and I don’t want to be seen” he said. “I just watch for a high level of efficiency and the ideal of perfection.”
He’s seen most of the shows in his years with Cirque and Dube-Dupuis said Quidam is “one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.”
He praises his cast of 50, noting “they all want to achieve perfection.”