In 12 hours, the contents of 15 semi trucks – combined with the help of 22 technicians, 80 stage hands, 50 actors and an additional 30 support staffers – transformed Intrust Bank Arena into a magical home for Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam.
The opening performance for the seven-show run in Wichita doesn’t happen until Wednesday, but crews were busy Monday in the arena.
It begins when a rigging specialist walks into the arena with plans and a piece of chalk, said Jessica Leboeuf, spokesman for the show.
“He looks at the ceiling and marks the floor with ‘Xs.’ Every ‘X’ is where a chain motor is hung,” she said.
The chain motors lift and support the show.
Then comes lighting and sound. There is much pounding, clanking of chains and metal as boxes and crates are unloaded.
The unpacking includes, Leboeuf said, 2,500 costume pieces – garments and gloves, shoes and wigs.
“All the shoes have to be painted every day,” she said.
The crew brings in sewing machines, clothing designers, washers and driers, and hires locals to help with smaller sewing projects.
“It takes us six hours to do laundry with all the steaming and ironing,” she said.
And then there is food to feed the masses.
“We have a restaurant-style kitchen that the guys set up in every city – sometimes it is in the loading dock,” Leboeuf said. “It has a meat smoker and things like that.
“We cater to very different people who have different needs. We have our own chefs and attendants.”
On staff are sports medicine therapists who help prevent injuries and build workout programs to keep the crew healthy.
“We are, in general, pretty healthy people,” Leboeuf said of the crew members, who come from 24 countries and do 300 shows a year. “… Most of the people who work here take care of their bodies and are quite healthy.”
It was expected to take 12 hours Monday to build the magical show, Leboeuf said. But on Sunday, it will only take 3½ hours to tear it down and move on to the next city.