AHM Recommends: Cirque du Soleil’s “KÀ” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ makes Las Vegas a perfect family destination.

"KA" By Cirque du Soleil at The MGM Grande Hotel -Las Vegas - Nevada - USA - Show Name Announcement September 15, 2004 Photos By Denise Truscello

Summer is weird for our family. My husband teaches summer school. We spend 3 weeks in CT visiting family. Mom is a PTA president. One kid has soccer camp. It’s busy, and there’s no routine.

The only time we were all unscheduled was a week at the end of June, so we asked the kids if they’d like to take a family trip somewhere. Of course they said yes. So where do you want to go?

“VEGAS!” they both said, without hesitation.

That might seem like a strange destination choice for 8 and 10-year-old boys. But 2 years ago we took a family trip to Las Vegas and had a wonderful time, so it did make sense for us. The key is to avoid the Strip, unless you’re going to a Cirque du Soleil show.

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Cirque du Soleil has always been an amazing spectacle. There isn’t one second in any show that you’re not dazzled by the incredible strength, creativity, and bravery of the performers and creators. For this trip we chose KÀ, “a gravity-defying production featuring
a powerfully emotive soundtrack that enhances the innovative blend of acrobatic feats, Capoeira, puppetry, projections and martial arts.”

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The story of KÀ is that an evil band of captors invades an empire and kidnaps the royal children, separating them. The survivors wander the lands, and the children try to find each other. Simple, really, but in the hands of Cirque’s imaginative puppet masters, the story unfolds in a spectacle of vertical acrobatics, as an enormous platform rises from the stage and faces the audience. Its surface changes from water to moonscape to beach sand to polar wasteland.

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The story has a creepier underside, which is lost on the kids, and even the adults until you read the printed PR materials. “KÀ” is the fire of life, which the bad guys in the show seek to create by grinding the bones of captives. There is one dark performer, the lead bad guy, who looks like Criss Angel (star of a different Cirque show) and seems very delighted by the suffering of others. His presence on stage is captivating, and even though he was the bad guy, my kids loved watching him. “The creepy guy,” they said, was their favorite part.

TSCCreepiest bad guy to the left

Every scene in KÀ is a wonderment of powerful dance and acrobatics combined with incredible technology. The projections that make you believe a character is falling through the ocean are controlled by infrared sensors that react to performers’ movements.

Forest Duet 01AJerry MetellusThe Forest King saves the girl as she falls through the trees

The vertical and aerial final battle scene is made possible by winches controlled by remote controls in the performers’ costumes. A flying machine emerges from high up at the top of the stage area, seemingly created out of animal hides and wood, but capably carrying several performers over the audience’s heads.

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As usual, your experience begins the moment you set foot over the theater’s threshold. Located at the back of the massive MGM Grand, the KÀ theater is guarded by a giant colorful dragon.

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Greeters, in costume and in character, lead you to your seat and provide your children with boosters so they can see if they are too short. Don’t try to take pictures with your cell phone, though. In an entertaining PSA, performers come out to the audience before the show begins and bust a guy in the front row for snapping photos with his phone. First they take his phone and throw it into the pit. Then they take the guy and throw him into the pit.

We got the message, which is why almost all of photos in this post are courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

The theater itself is a marvel. As you walk in, you feel like you are boarding a ship. Scaffolding and balconies climb the walls, promising dozens of performers swinging from their heights during the show. Indeed, acrobats dressed as tribesmen and women swing out over your seat, caterwauling in a strange language, calling to each other.

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From the beginning to the pyrotechnic end, this show commands your complete attention. We happened to attend the 5,000th performance of KÀ – the greeters handed each of us a commemorative luggage tag – an astounding track record for such a complicated feat of human performance and technical mastery.

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KÀ is truly worth traveling to Vegas for. We stayed at Tahiti Village, a time share resort off the Strip, where you can take a free shuttle to Tropicana and then cross over to MGM Grand using the bridge over the street. Keep the kids close as you travel through the casino to KÀ Theater, because they are not allowed off the thoroughfare into the slot machines or table areas. And people still smoke in casinos, so you might want to zip through as quickly as you can. Bathrooms are just to the right of the theater, and you can purchase snacks and drinks and bring them in.

Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ
at MGM Grand
3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
7:00 pm and 9:30 pm Saturday through Wednesday.
Tickets $34.50 – $180 plus tax
Children under 5 are free (but I wouldn’t recommend it – loud and scary at times)
www.ka.com

My family attended KÀ as guests of Cirque du Soleil to facilitate this feature. All opinions are mine or my family’s.

What’s Your Story? Expressing Motherhood Accepting Submissions 2/16/15

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Expressing Motherhood is a stage show in which people stand before you and tell – or perform – their stories about mothers. About being mothers, having mothers, loving or hating mothers, losing and remembering mothers.

I’ve seen the show more times than I can count now, over the years. The producers have staged it all over Los Angeles, and in New York, Chicago, and Boston. Last winter I was honored to be included in the show myself. My story was the mostly humorous tale of my long evolution from relatively cool person into a suburban PTA mom. My co-stars were 11 incredible storytellers. There were songs, laughter, tears, and wine flowing in the green room.

Expressing-Motherhood-Show-in-HollywoodPhoto by Desiree Eaglin

Submissions for the spring Los Angeles show will be accepted on Monday, February 16. All you need to do is share your story. You don’t have to be a writer or a performer. Just type up your story – one that takes you 5 minutes or less to read out loud, and send it in to the email address given on the website. The power of your story is what drives your submission. No in-person audition necessary.

Here are some tips and requirements:

*Pieces need to be NO longer than 5 minutes when read aloud. Please read them aloud and time yourself.

*Make sure it’s your story about motherhood, not someone else’s.

*Pieces about small portions of motherhood often make very interesting pieces versus a broad “Motherhood is hard” piece.

*I’m looking for stories about motherhood. That means you don’t have to be a mom. You can be a son, a woman who chooses to not have children. Etc.

I encourage you to submit if you have a great story that is bursting to come out of you. Keep your eye on ExpressingMotherhood.com for more information.

Listen To Your Mother. No, Really. April 27 in Orange County [Ticket Giveaway!]

Next Sunday, the national show Listen To Your Mother will happen in Orange County (Santa Ana). It is worth a day trip for this, my friends, I promise you. In addition to talent from OC and San Diego, the cast features several Los Angeles area moms including Agoura Hills’ own Julie Gardner!

“The mission of each LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER production is to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood–in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER aims to support motherhood creatively through artistic expression, and also financially–through contributions to non-profit organizations supporting families in need.”

Watching and listening to women standing in front of an audience, reading their original, curated work regarding motherhood, is a moving and powerful experience. I’ve seen several such performances, I can guarantee you that you will have a wonderful time.

Listen To Your Mother
April 27, 4:00 PM
The Ebell Club
625 French Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 547-6331
Website

Ten percent of ticket sales go to benefit WisePlace, a women’s shelter in Santa Ana. Buy tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/611696 OR, enter to win one of 10 pairs of tickets that LTYM is giving away, below!

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