Inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar, and taking place 3,000 years before the film, Toruk – The First Flight tells the story of Ralu and Entu (Omaticaya Clan) as they embark on a journey to save the sacred Tree of Souls. While on their quest to gather five sacred objects before finding Toruk, a massive scarlet and yellow striped predator, they come across Tsyal (Tawkami Clan), who joins and helps them on their dangerous but adventurous trek through the world of Pandora. Although you won’t see the Cirque staples we all have come to love – the beloved clowns and gravity defying acrobatics – you will be mesmerized and amazed by Cirque’s visually stunning take on the world of Pandora, all accompanied by an epic cinematic score.
Toruk features dialog entirely in Na’vi, the language of the inhabitants of Pandora. You don’t have to be fluent in Na’vi to understand the story, however, as for the first time in Cirque du Soleil history, a narrator (simply named ‘The Storyteller’) accompanies you throughout the show telling the story that happened a long time ago in Pandora. It’s not continuous dialogue, but The Storyteller’s presence is not missed.
There are 5 clans in the world of Toruk – Omaticaya Clan, Tawkami Clan, Anurai Clan, Timpani Clan and Kenunan Clan – and they’re are all distinguishable by their costumes and hair. Each clan is introduced in different scenes throughout the story, and feature an act unique to that clan. Instead of the acts being the main focal point lipart of the story as a whole. Notable are the Tissue act by Giulia Piolanti (Tsyal) from the Tawkami Clan and the Kites act from the Kekunan Clan.ke in other Cirque shows, the acts in Toruk blend in a bit more but still feel
As in the movie Avatar, Toruk’s Pandora also has creatures roaming its world. Direhorses, Viperwolves and the Toruk, are all represented by puppets that are brought to life by all black shadow-looking Na’vi puppeteers named the Spirits of Eywa.
Beautiful and astonishing are words that can be used to describe Toruk. The costumes, props, puppets and choreography all help achieve Toruk’s beauty. Place all these elements together on an impressive stage, and you’ve got the visually stunning Toruk. The stage, which takes up almost half the arena floor, transforms into the colorful world of Pandora with the help of 40 projectors. The projectors create a different atmosphere and environment with elements like lava, water, rocks – all changing in every scene. The show is highly immersive. Extending out into the audience, the projections do a great job of making you feel part of Toruk. There’s also an app that allows you to become part of the show.
It is important to reiterate that Toruk – The First Flight is not a typical Cirque du Soleil show. This isn’t a bad thing as Toruk is not aiming to be that. But going in there with the knowledge that you’ll see a live experience as opposed to a Big Top touring show will make a difference in terms of enjoyment. You still get the amazing costumes, the attention to detail, the beautiful music and the impressive stage, except it’s all in a theatrical/cinematic format. For show and ticket information, visit the official Toruk – The First Flight website.
Before the scheduled 7 PM premiere show began, celebrities and the creative minds behind Toruk – The First Flight began parading across the red carpet in style. Among the red carpet attendees were Show Writer and Directors Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, Cirque du Soleil President and CEO Daniel Lamarre, Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre, Avatar Producer Jon Landau, and of course, Avatar Director and Filmmaker James Cameron. Guy Laliberte was notably absent from the red carpet, but later arrived and was greeted by a group of media reporters. Check out video and photos from the red carpet and the after party!
Toruk Photos: Errisson Lawrence | Costumes: Kym Barrett © 2015 Cirque du Soleil