Clown for a New Day

Clown for a New Day
Dagwood might make it in today's emasculated circus

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mass Performer Walkouts at Cirque du Soleil?

On the Cirque du Soleil fan website, they are talking about an ominous number of performers or musicians who have walked or are planning to — from Kooza, now playing in Northern California to rave notices. (I’ve reviewed it elsewhere on this blog.) Among the names: Jason Berrent (who played the trickster), Crystel Bujold, Theresa Bailey, Chris Bailey, Elodi Dufuo and Alexi Shirin. Some of these names do not even appear in the program I purchased at the S.F. date, which suggests a volatile turnover, does it not? And, if so, what a surprise that is.

“Why is everyone leaving this tour” headlines a posting by Globasf, an usher. “I’ve heard many more plan to be leaving shortly. Quite a shame. Are people not happy?”

Another contributor, Parris, opines, “I can imagine the show being stressful on the artists because the show is still developing. It will be a while before it can run itself. Not saying that is why the artists are leaving but it may be part of the reason.”

Very strange to an outsider, for I had thought these performers were nailed, sworn and canonized to long-term contracts. But Cirque is such a closely guarded organization shrouded in perhaps more mystery than it sends out into its atmospheric tents.

Very strange, indeed. Here is the website. You might find this issue or you might not. It’s a Cirque thing.

http://www.cirquetribune.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5508&view=previous&sid=0144b9aa e33040c57008455b14f4c310

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Historically performers break contracts, just as historically circus cuts wages if things are slow. Cirque has never been accused of overpaying anybody. Those in an unpopular unit manager or performance director and people leave.

Showbiz David said...

I do sound rather naive. Seemed so stunning for the Cirque empire, about which I don't know nearly enough. Sometime I will do a posting about my failed attempts to get interviews from them. They went back and forth, as if to be mystically birthing a position from which to be protectively approached, so preciously afraid to speak in the end. Stranger than strange. Would that be called an enigmatic ethos?

Anonymous said...

As a person close to the performers who are walking out, I can assure you that they are all leaving because they are all unhappy. The original cast of Kooza consists of many artists and musicians who are extremely talented, who know their worth and are used to a certain type of treatment. But apparently, the ones in management positions at Kooza are not all experienced and do not always treat the artists with respect.

Most of the performers in Kooza feel overworked, underpaid, disrespected and unappreciated. How can performers be expected to give their all under such circumstances?

There will definitely be more artists leaving. But I wish the best to the ones who have already left. I hope they find a place to perform where they will be treated with respect and their talents will be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Sure............just hit the road. I'm sure they will find all they are looking for in terms of working conditions, respect, and money. Just wait till they find them selves out doors in a rodeo arena with mud blowing sideways.

Ross Hartzell

Anonymous said...

showbiz david,
Wonderful, wonderful blog. And you don't appear to shy from the unpopular. Very commendable, for learning both side's of an issue.
Wade Burck

Showbiz David said...

Many thanks, Wade, for your nice comments. So many things can be viewed from so many angles. And that's what, I guess, makes life interesting!

Anonymous said...

Just wait till they find them selves out doors in a rodeo arena with mud blowing sideways.

This is precisely the point. Many of these performers will never find themselves in this position. They're used to being treated a certain way because they have been working in places that respect them. I don't think there's anything wrong with demanding respect if you want respect.

Anonymous said...

"Most of the performers in Kooza feel overworked, underpaid, disrespected and unappreciated. How can performers be expected to give their all under such circumstances?"

Aww poor babies...try doing a 35 week season on a mud show that moves everyday with no days off..! We DID "give it our all" every single day and we didnt whine or complain about the conditions. We did our job and we did it well and we made a heck of alot of money in the process...

Lauren Fairchild

Wade G. Burck said...

Lauren,
You may have an answer for the thread of March 2nd. What exactly is "a heck of a lot of money?" How does 35 weeks on a mud show that moves everyday with no days off, compare to other occupations and their compensation? I would beg to differ on the whine or complain deal.
Your friend,
Wade Burck

Anonymous said...

Wade,
Compensation for what a person does vs. what they are "worth" is all relative, the way I see it...Its hard to compare, for example, how much a clown gets paid on a show for what he does vs. what someone of your stature would be paid. Each are important to the show but play very different roles...when you boil it all down, probably none of us are paid what we are worth (compared to the blood sweat and tears that we put into it)...however, we all have choices in life and it is up to us to negotiate our deals to get as close to the money "we are worth" as possible...
I hope this answers your question and if it didnt, I feel certain you will let me know...
Respectfully,
Lauren Fairchild