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This article is about the Cirque du Soleil production. For Polish progressive rock group, see Quidam (band).
Quidam logo
Company Cirque du Soleil
Genre Contemporary circus
Show type Touring production
Date of premiere April 23, 1996 (Montréal, QC)
Final show February 26, 2016 (Christchurch, NZ)
Location Christchurch, NZ
Creative team
Writer and director Franco Dragone
Director of creation Gilles Ste-Croix
Senior artistic director Richard Dagenais
Artistic director Fabrice Lemire
Composer Benoît Jutras
Costume designer Dominique Lemieux
Set designer Michel Crête
Lighting designer Luc Lafortune
Choreographer Debra Brown
Sound designer François Bergeron
Make-up designer Nathalie Gagné
Artistic guide Guy Laliberté
Other information
Preceded by Alegría (1994)
Succeeded by O (1998)
Official website

Quidam (/kˈdɑːm/ kee-DAHM) was the ninth stage show produced by Cirque du Soleil. It premiered in April 1996 and has been watched by millions of spectators around the world.[1] Quidam originated as a big-top show in Montreal and was converted into an arena format beginning with its 2010 tour in North America.[2] It then changed back to the Big Top for a 3-month run in Seoul, SK before returning to an arena show for its tour to Oceania. The show performed for the final time in Christchurch, NZ on February 26, 2016.

The entire show is imagined by a bored girl named Zoé who is alienated and ignored by her parents. She dreams up the whimsical world of Quidam as a means of escaping the monotony of her life.[1]

The show's title refers to the feature character, a man without a head, carrying an umbrella and a bowler hat. Quidam is said to be the embodiment of both everyone and no one at the same time. According to Cirque du Soleil literature "Quidam: a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past... One who cries out, sings and dreams within us all."[1]

Set and technical information[edit]

The minimalistic stage was designed by Michel Crête to represent a monolithic structure such as an airport or train station where people are always coming and going. The major set element includes the five, all-aluminum, 120-foot (36.57-meter) arches above the stage, known as the téléphérique. These allow performers to be transported onto and off the stage from above. Each rail of the téléphérique has two trolleys: one to raise and lower the performer or equipment, and the second to transport it onto or off the stage.

The stage floor is made of aluminum decks with a perforated, rubber-type mat. The perforations, of which there are over 200,000, allow light to pass through from below the stage, creating visual effects.[1]


The cast of Quidam has a cast of 45 acrobats, musicians, singers, and characters, some of which are detailed below.[1][3][4]

  • Zoé: She is the principal character and singer in Quidam. Although average in nature, she longs for excitement.
  • Father: Completely, though unwittingly, self-absorbed, this character is lost behind his newspaper until he eventually open his eyes to find himself among his family and loved ones. His white shoes are the only indication of a hidden personality.
  • Mother: Conveys an air of absence and alienation whilst inside her lie fear, frustration, and desire. Through the show, she rediscovers the intense feeling of being alive through pain and courage, play and love.
  • Quidam: The show's titular character, who is anonymous, everyone, and no one (the name means "passer by"). He may have stepped out of a surrealist painting or been conjured up out of Zoé's imagination. He is known for his bowler hat and umbrella despite being headless.
  • John/Mark: He is an eerie yet charming guide on our mysterious journey through the world of Quidam. Also is represented as a father figure to Zoé hence him stepping into her father's shoes. The character changed of 'John' was played initially by John Gilkey and then by Mark Ward who performed the role from 1999 onwards. Sometime after this transition, the character's name changed to 'Mark'.
  • Target: A living human bullseye fired at by everyone but is always smiling.
  • Chiennes Blanches: The silent chorus, the nameless and the faceless, the dehumanized, mechanical crowd, simultaneously leading and following. They also accompany the principal characters as they make their entrances and exits.
  • Boum-Boum: Enjoys screaming at the audience and walking away proudly, but will run away if an audience member screams back. He is aggressive and physically fit, yet extremely lifeless. It is as though his body lives on only because his soul refuses to leave it.
  • Aviator: This character runs around on stage with skeletal wings, but doesn’t look quite ready to take off. Perhaps he doesn’t know he has wings. Perhaps he knows, but can’t fly. Perhaps, like Icarus, he has tried and failed or perhaps he simply wants to escape this world and its problems.
  • Les Égarés: Lost individuals who gather together in the streets and abandoned buildings of Quidam. They perform in the banquine act.
  • Homme Rayé: Translating into English as the 'Striped man' due to his blue and red costume with white stripes. He is one of Les Égarés who has a scarred face.
  • Pierrot: Another of Les Égarés who is most noticeable when running across the stage in a long white gown and she has bright red hair.
  • Kangaroo: A character representing the youth in society, he wears a blue, sleeveless hood and is one of Les Égarés.
  • La Mouche: An upbeat character that makes up Les Égarés, she is dressed entirely in light blue and green.
  • Peau D'ane: A minor character who chases and gets chased by other characters. She is one of Les Égarés and is noticeable as a red rabbit on stage.


Quidam combines a mix of acrobatic skills and traditional circus acts:[1][5][6]

  • German Wheel: An acrobat performs tricks within a German wheel.
  • Diabolo: A performer manipulates diabolos (i.e., Chinese yo-yo), which are two sticks linked by a string on which a wooden spool balances.
  • Aerial contortion in silk: Intensity, power and grace combine when a young woman becomes one with the column of red fabric which supports and cradles her.
  • Skipping ropes: Drawing inspiration from dance, acrobatics, and the art of manipulation, a group of 20 acrobats performs this familiar child's game in a steady stream of solo, duo, and group jumps and figures.
  • Aerial hoops: Three performers use hoops attached to the ceiling to perform tricks.
  • Handbalancing: Using strength and balance, a performer contorts into poses while on balancing canes.
  • Spanish webs: Artists fly over the stage, attached to trolleys on the overhead tracks. In turn or as a group, they occasionally perform a sudden drop, stopped only by the ropes looped around their waists or ankles.
  • Statue: Never losing contact, two strong, flexible performers move almost imperceptibly, assuming positions impossible without an impeccable sense of balance.
  • Banquine: An Italian acrobatic tradition going back to the Middle Ages that combines gymnastics and ballet. Showcasing the agility of the human body, up to 15 artists perform sequences of feats and human pyramids with their perfectly synchronized movements.

Acts in rotation[edit]

  • Juggling: Up to five balls fly through the air, with additional manipulation of a briefcase, umbrella, and bowler hat.
  • Dance Trapeze: A solo trapeze artist twirls over the stage on a trapeze strung from the telepherique.

Retired acts[edit]

  • Cyr wheel: An acrobat performed tricks within a large metal ring.
  • Manipulation: Three performers used warped metal sheets to juggle and manipulate a red ball that they each had; later in the act, they got rid of the metal sheet and juggled the red balls as well as many other red balls and a bowler hat each.
  • Aerial straps: Two artists grasped cords that dangled from the overhead rails; sometimes they performed on the ground, sometimes in the air.
  • Hoops: A performer spun and manipulated up to 20 spinning hoops all over her body.
  • Cloud swing: A unique combination of swinging trapeze and Spanish web techniques. This act was dropped from the show in 2012 due to issues with finance, and a single trapeze act temporarily replaced it. The cloud swing act returned to the show from 2012 to 2013 and during the Seoul, South Korea tour in 2015 because the promoter wanted to make the show as close to the original as possible during its final run under the Grand Chapiteau.
  • Single trapeze: A performer did tricks on a trapeze. This act was a temporary replacement for the cloud swing act.


Quidam's diabolo act won a Gold Medal at the 1995 Festival du Cirque de Demain.[5] The show's banquine act won the Golden Clown at the 1999 International Monte Carlo Circus Festival.[5]


Quidam's costume designer, Dominique Lemieux, drew inspiration from Surrealist art, particularly the works of René Magritte and Paul Delvaux. The costumes convey the alienation of the characters and represent an urban landscape through the use of painted textures and fabrics. The dominant color is grey but is supplemented by deep, rich, warm colors and embellished with metals. Quidam was the first Cirque du Soleil show to use everyday clothing for the outfits, although those in the acrobatic acts are modified. The fabric chosen for Quidam is primarily stretch linen, but also includes leather, jute, linen crepe, wool, velvet and 42 types of cotton.[7]

Quidam has approximately 249 costumes, 500 costume accessories, and 200-300 shoes: Each artist has anywhere from 2 to 7 costumes, of which there are at least 2 spares. The costumes, although washed every day, can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.[1]


Quidam’s music was composed by Benoît Jutras and has been released in three album editions featuring additional songs, alternative new cover designs, and higher quality sounds. The first CD was produced by Carl Marsh. It was co-arranged by Marsh and Jutras and released on January 14, 1997. (ASIN B000003G5M) The album features the voices of Audrey Brisson-Jutras and Mathieu Lavoie, with the exception of two bonus tracks sung by Brisson-Jutras and Richard Price on the extended CD released in 2001 (recorded live in Amsterdam, 1999).[8]

Below is a list of tracks as featured on the original 1997 release, alongside each of which is listed the act that the track accompanies. The two tracks on the 2001 extended album are also included at the end: "Misère" and "Enfants d'Acier".[8]

  • Atmadja (Opening)
  • Incantation
    • (German wheel) (1996-2012, 2014-2016)
    • (Cyr wheel) (2012-2014)
  • Marelle (Interlude)
  • Rivage
    • Manipulation (Second part of the act, 1996–1998)
    • Juggling (Second part of the act (1996–2003), Complete song for the act (2006 onward))
  • Zydeko (Skipping ropes) (Second part of the act)
  • Let Me Fall (Aerial contortion in silk) (First part of the act)
  • Innocence (Skipping ropes) (First and final parts of the act)
  • Carrousel
    • Clowns (First part of the song, 1996-2004)
    • Transition out of Diabolos (Second part of the song; Badauds)
    • Transition out of Aerial hoops (Third part of the song: Parc Papillon)
  • Steel Dreams
    • Handbalancing (1996–1998)
    • Aerial straps (2004–2005)
    • Dance Trapeze (2014-2016)
  • Seisouso
    • Aerial hoops
    • Cloud Swing (First part of the song, Intro to the act, 1996-2012, 2013)
    • Trapeze Duplex (First part of the song, Intro to the act, 2012)
    • Dance Trapeze (First part of the song, Intro to the act, 2014-2016)
  • Réveil (Statues)
  • Quidam (Finale)
  • Misère (Banquine)
  • Enfants d'Acier (Diabolos)

Additional songs in the show not included on the album:

  • Présentation (Pre-show)
  • Petit Salon (Opening)
  • Procession (Intro to wheel act)
  • Handbalancing
    • Handbalancing (1999-2001, 2003-present)
    • Hula Hoops (2002, 2008)
  • Isabelle (Aerial contortion in silk, Second part of the act)
  • Corde Lisse (Spanish Webs)
  • Cerceau (Aerial hoops,first and third part of the act)
  • Juggler (Manipulation, First part of the act, 1996-1998)
  • Original Handbalancing Music (Handbalancing) (1996)
  • Rain/Égaré (First act ending)
  • Walking in the air (Dans l'Air)
  • Cloud Swing
    • Cloud Swing (1996-2012, 2013)
    • Trapeze Duplex (2012)
  • Circus Animals (Transition to finale)
Further information: Cirque du Soleil discography


Quidam started as a Grand Chapiteau touring show before being fully converted to an arena touring show in 2010.[2] For a short time in 2009, Quidam toured the UK and IE in arena format before switching back to the Grand Chapiteau for its South America tour. After this, in 2010, Quidam was converted into the arena format where it began a North American, European and Asia-Pacific tour. However, during its run in Seoul in 2015, Quidam was temporarily reconverted to play under the Grand Chapiteau for three months before continuing its farewell tour in the arena format for its run in Australia and New Zealand. The show's 20-year run ended on February 26, 2016.

Cirque du Soleil started using a customized tour bus as a method of helping to advertise Quidam during its tour in northeastern North America during the fall of 2011. During the show's stops in cities, the tour bus makes appearances at local merchants, allowing people to meet part of the crew.[9]

The following colorboxes indicate the region of each performance:  EU   Europe  NA   North America  SA   South and Central America  AP   Asia/Pacific  OC   Oceania  AF   Africa

Arena tour[edit]

Grand Chapiteau tour[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Quidam Press Kit" (PDF). Cirque du Soleil (Press Kit). Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Quidam performers adapt to the arena". Montréal Gazette. 2010-12-11. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  3. ^ "Quidam Characters". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  4. ^ "About Debra Brown". debralynnbrown.com. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  5. ^ a b c "Quidam Acts". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  6. ^ "Quidam Acts". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  7. ^ Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in Chinese, English, French, and Japanese). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 40–45. ISBN 978-2-9803493-4-8. 
  8. ^ a b "Music – Quidam". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  9. ^ "Quidam Road Trip". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 

External links[edit]