Incredible acrobatics, a revolutionary sound system, and one of the world’s largest theatrical indoor archery displays are highlighted 10 times weekly at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“KÀ” by Cirque du Soleil set the bar high, literally and figuratively, when it debuted in 2004. TheKÀ Theatre was the first live-performance venue to feature speakers in every seat. The show also features10 archers launching up to 70 arrows, while arrow cannons fire another 60.
The archers shoot PSE Mach 11 bows, which have maximum draw weights of 15 to 20 pounds. Each archer is measured and fitted for their own bow. The arrow’s rubber tips collapse on impact. The bows’ lower draw weights send arrows flying at less than 90 feet per second. Those slow speeds ensure safety, and allow audiences to see the arrows in flight with help from lighted nocks.
The show’s acrobats perform on a vertical moving platform with pegs that extend and retract. During the archery sequence, the pegs jet out of the platform at about 13 mph, and represent arrows hitting the stage. When the archers shoot their arrows from the gantry, pegs in the stage jet out instantly with a puff of “dust,” giving the illusion that arrows shot from the platforms landed onstage. The actors scale the “arrows” in time with the battle sequence, with the pegs disappearing and reappearing as more arrows land.
The battle scene is a major turning point in the show’s plot. “KÀ” was the first Cirque du Soleil show to feature a complete storyline. The name refers to the ancient Egyptian belief that we all have a spiritual duplicate who stays with us throughout our lives and into the afterlife. These themes arereflected in the twins’ separation, with one escaping by sea and the other by land. A nursemaid accompanies one twin, while the other twin spends his days with the court jester. An archery-filled battle sequence ends with the twins’ separation, a strong technical feat with intense visuals.
Cirque du Soleil is a behemoth in its field, and consistently produces dazzling, imaginative shows. “KÀ” also combines athleticism and pageantry in its incredible package, and with 10 shows each week you’ll have many opportunities to experience it.
For a closer look at the production’s hidden cogs and gears, visit the theater on Tuesdays or Saturdays for free behind-the-scenes demonstrations. And if you want to keep the archery party going, visit the interactive “Hunger Games” exhibit, also located in the MGM Grand.