If you’re a fan of Cirque du Soleil, you’ve probably heard of Soda Stereo, the Argentinean rock band. But depending on where you live, it’s possible you may not have heard of the band until SEP7IMO DIA – NO DESCANSARÉ was announced.
Soda Stereo was formed in 1982 by lead singer Gustavo Cerati, bassist Héctor “Zeta” Bosio, and drummer Charly Alberti, and became one of the most popular rock bands in Latin America. After many years of touring, Soda Stereo held their farewell concert tour in 1997, thanking their fans with the phrase “¡Gracias totales!”
In 2013, after seeing The Beatles Love, the resident Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show that features the music of The Beatles, Pop Art Music founder Roberto Costa, along with Pop Art Music CEO Diego Saenz and Soda Stereo Manager Dany Kon, approached Cirque du Soleil to create a show based on the band’s music. Four years after Pop Art approached Cirque du Soleil, SEP7IMO DIA – NO DESCASARÉ, premiered in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Unfortunately, Soda Stereo frontman Gustavo Cerati did not get to see his work imagined by Cirque du Soleil as he sadly passed away on September 4, 2014.
Featuring 36 artists on stage and 43 employees behind-the-scenes, SEP7IMO DIA – NO DESCANSARÉ (Seventh Day – I Will Not Rest) takes you inside the musical realm of Soda Stereo, blending the band’s pop-rock energy with Cirque du Soleil’s creativity and signature acrobatics. The person tasked with creating this show was Cirque du Soleil veteran Michel Laprise. After spending many years as a Cirque du Soleil talent scout and later taking on the role of Special Events Designer, Michel directed his first Cirque du Soleil touring show, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, which premiered April 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.
The inspiration for SEP7IMO DIA came after Michel learned from Gustavo Cerati’s mother that young Gutavo was an avid science fiction fan. The idea was well received by Zeta and Charly as they revealed sci-fi was one of the many passions that united the three musicians. And so, Michel set on to create this sci-fi world mixed with the energy of Soda Stereo’s music.
For the first time ever in a Cirque du Soleil show, fans were invited into the creative process of SEP7IMO DIA. Fans had the opportunity to join in on creating the act featuring the song “Primavera 0” by proposing ideas and commenting on certain topics related to the act, including the concept, costume, and acrobatic discipline – all via monthly Facebook Live sessions.
Not wanting a normal set for a “sci-fi show,” the creative team behind SEP7IMO DIA opted for a spherical body in the shape of a planet as the show’s set design. The planet opens up to reveal its inner core. The portion of the planet that opens up serves as a projection surface that becomes a sun or a moon, depending on the storyline.
Aside from the sun or moon projections, cameras are used in the show for real-time projections, that help focus the audience’s attention to specific performances or characters. Other uses include projecting concert archival footage, as is the case with the final scene, which serves as a tribute to the fans of Soda Stereo. A total of 14 high-performance video projects are used in the show.
Continuing with the sci-fi look, satellites move into the standing room audience area, creating a feeling of proximity. A first for Cirque du Soleil, SEP7IMO DIA features a “standing room” section for those who prefer to dance to the music (normal seating is also available). The advantage of this section is having the opportunity of being up close to the stage, as well as feeling part of the show during the couple of acts that are performed in the audience.
The set design also features elements that are inspired by Soda Stereo’s music videos and lyrics. The Wheels of Childhood, for example, are three futuristic looking rings orbiting the planet that are vessels symbolizing each of the band members’ boyhood days. The rings are equipped with LED screens that tell the musicians’ story.
Dominique Lemieux, known for her costume creations from classic Cirque du Soleil shows like Saltimbanco, Alegria, and O (as well as 8 other Cirque du Soleil shows), returns to Cirque as SEP7IMO DIA’s costume designer. Drawing inspiration from the post-punk fashion styles of the 1980s, the show’s costumes and wigs reflect these trends with an added elegance and futuristic twist. The wigs, designed by Dominique, use synthetic hair, vinyl, and metallic appliqués that reflect the fashion of this era.
The soundtrack was mixed by Zeta and Charly and co-produced by Adrian Taverna. The band’s entire catalog was reviewed, and original tapes were digitalized and restored to create new versions of the tracks. The soundtrack features 21 tracks used in the show, and is available for purchase on Amazon and streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.
SEP7IMO DIA – SCENE BY SCENE
In a nod to the invisible triangle that Gustavo, Zeta and Charly formed on stage in which no one could penetrate, the spectators are symbolically invited within Soda Stereo’s inner circle, at the heart of the action, when the sacred triangle opens up to embrace the audience.
With video-projections evoking the explosive energy this act features a fast-paced, vitamin-laced rope skipping number with an upbeat 1980s rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Sometimes the skippers’ ropes turn blisteringly fast; at other times, they just seem to float or undulate in the air like sound waves.
This “aerial revolver” and missile number evokes passionate love and expresses the moment when a relationship spirals out of control. Borrowing from the discipline of aerial hoops and fixed trapeze, two “fugitives” spin on two three-meter-long revolvers. They then move into a single missile-shaped apparatus where they intertwine their bodies and spin in a vertical dance of unusual movements and lifts.
This act is based on the paradox between the fragility of a flower and the strength of the metal of which this giant specimen is made. A flower four meters in height made entirely of metal yet surprisingly fragile makes its way into the audience and opens its majestic petals to reveal an artist who performs a graceful hand balancing act on the pistils of the flower. In all her powerful energy, the beautiful temptress and her flower symbolize the driving force of rock and the fire of love.
SOBREDOSIS DE T.V.
This act is an evocation of the overdose of information resulting from the proliferation of TV channels and series during the 1980s. The character Corazón Roto, who evokes the nostalgia of pre-democracy Argentina, loses his sense of identity in a maelstrom of camera effects that recall the Orwellian slogan “Big Brother is watching you.”
The artist who plays L’Assoiffé performs a fluid diabolo act as he slides, juggles and tosses a spool high up in the air, literally dancing with his device. In a moment of introspection, surrounded by his guardian angel, the character explores his creative abilities and engages in dialogue with the planet and the universe to the sound of “Planeador” and the Brit-rock-tinged “Persiana Americana.”
This captivating acrobatic wheel number is a combination of rotating Russian cradle techniques with object manipulation skills. The catcher strapped between the gigantic wheels turns into a human trapeze, flipping and catching his partner in the air. This scene explores the bonds of brotherhood and the conflicts that sometimes arise in a friendship.
UN MILLON DE AÑOS LUZ
An artist creates a sand drawing in real time with her fingers and hands while the image is projected on a screen overhead. She tells the story of a man with a broken heart who escapes to a planet a million light years away from the origin of his pain.
CREMA DE ESTRELLAS
A group of artists perform a hallucinatory ballet of arms and legs, both real and make-believe, in an organized chaos that is half-choreography, half-manipulation.
Breathing new life into an old circus discipline, a solo artist representing the spirit of the Red Moon, all alone on the planet, performs a mesmerizing dance suspended only by her hair! This tableau is a nod to the iconic hairstyles that Soda Stereo were known for throughout their career.
HOMBRE AL AGUA
Man overboard! This act, which unfold inside a large aquarium more than 6 meters tall, is a metaphor for a songwriter who finds inspiration while in the midst of composing a new song. The water in which the free diving artist is submerged creates a womb-like feeling.
CIUDAD DE LA FURIA
An artist executes a rock-infused aerial chain act while two other artists perform a high-powered, street-based calisthenics number on a massive metal grill. This tableau is a direct reference to the iconic “En la ciudad de la furia” video.
TE PARA TRES
This tableau evokes a person who is no longer here among us. The artists around the campfire mourn a friend who is lost to this world. Soon they realize that sharing their sorrow creates new bonds.
A luminous blue ray of morning light is the symbol of life restored. Combining the disciplines of flying pole dancing, this sensual act is performed on a pole suspended up above the stage while another artist twirls a luminous baton in the air. In this fluorescent blue world, images of fans are projected in rapid-fire succession on a gigantic scrim above the stage using body mapping techniques.
DE MUSICA LIGERA
In this explosive finale that mixes the Italian acrobatic tradition of banquine with full- throttle tumbling techniques, the artists perform impressive sequences of acrobatics and human pyramids, hurling their partners high up in the air. The breathtaking finale extends from the Soda Stereo planet all the way out into the audience to the bouncy rhythm of the band’s power anthem “De música ligera.”
THE CHARACTERS OF SEP7IMO DIA
L’ASSOIFFÉ – A young man in his late teens, L’Assoiffé (French for ‘Thirsty Man’), hungers for meaning and social justice. He dreams of a better world and longs for love, friendship and a genuine connection with others. He is an artist and a poet living in a world of oppression reminiscent of Argentina during the military dictatorship. He discovers music as a means of escaping the grim realities of life, but more importantly as a way to connect with others in a meaningful way. For him, music is a source of light, optimism and hope.
SODA AND STEREO – These two are inhabitants of the world that L’Assoiffé has escaped to, and are there to guide him along. Soda and Stereo have speakers jutting out of their stomachs, as if their whole bodies vibrated to the sounds and music of Soda Stereo ready to be shared with the world. They embody the feminine and masculine sides of Soda Stereo’s music on this world.
GRISAILLES (GREYS) – The Grisailles represent the younger generation resolvedly pushing for change. They are fashion conscious and all dress the same. But underneath their dark exterior, they each have their own vibrant colors and bold patterns that reflect their uniqueness and distinct personalities.
LOIS IN SPACE – This character is a tribute to Alfredo Lois, an old classmate of Gustavo and Zeta, who went on to become Soda Stereo’s video director as well as the band’s visual and stylistic guru. Lois Alfredo recorded most of Soda Stereo’s performances throughout their careers and chronicled the band’s life on and off stage. Lois in Space has a camera built into his head. He films some of the action on the SEP7IMO DIA stage, which is then projected overhead in real time.
SHADOWS OF CHILDHOOD – The three characters called the Shadows of Childhood represent Charly, Zeta and Gustavo when they were kids and evoke their eternal youth. They first appear inside the Wheels of Childhood through archival images depicting their childhood days. The three wheels follow separate paths until they interconnect as a symbol of the formation of Soda Stereo. The Shadows of Childhood are L’Assoiffé’s guardian angels.
DOG LADY – This character is inspired by the illustration of a clothed Doberman that appears in the 1984 “Dietetico” music video. The Dog Lady has a Doberman’s head and wears a short fur coat and fashionista sunglasses. As curious as she is nosy, the coquettish and exuberant Dog Lady knows everything about everybody in the Soda Stereo world.
THE GARDENER – The Gardener is a wacky character who goes around with a watering can in his hand and has a mushroom sprouting from the top of his head. He presides over all plant life, which feed on the energy of the music. Instead of planting seeds, he sows vibrations and good intentions in the world of SEP7IMO DIA.
COEUR BRISÉ – A throwback to pre-democracy Argentina, this character embodies the nostalgia and loneliness of youth overdosing on television to escape reality. He carries on his shoulders all the sadness of freedom lost, of friendships that will never be. Corazón Roto’s encounter with the Dog Lady will make his sadness literally fly away.
FEMME SOLAIRE – This archetypal character is the ultimate femme fatale – beauty incarnate. She is connected to the music and brings light into the world of SEP7IMO DIA. L’Assoiffé, who has fallen passionately in love with the Femme Solaire, is transfixed by charm, pureness and integrity.
SEP7IMO DIA is currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina until May 14, where it will continue to Cordoba (Argentina), Lima (Peru), Santiago (Chile), Bogota (Colombia), Mexico City, Guadalajara (Mexico), and Monterrey (Mexico). The show is expected to continue touring other Latin American countries, as well as several cities in the U.S. in 2018.
For tickets and show information, visit: cirque.me/Sep7imo-Dia