TPA: Tournament of Champions Challenge 1

Cirque du Soleil

From Tim W
Posted January 1, 2012 at 8:03 AM
Welcome to the first challenge of Theme Park Apprentice - Tournament of Champions. Before I begin my description on the challenge, I would like to give a little overview on the competition. As the name states, this competition will bring the 5 champions from TPA and the Next Walt Disney together to battle in an epic competition. In this season the challenges will definitely be harder and might even take some research. One new aspect of this competition is the implementation of a new voting system. Rather than having eliminations, a special voting system will be used based on a combination between voting and a points system. This means that every contestant will receive some amount of points each week, where 1st place would receive 5 points, 2nd would receive 4 points, and so on. One extra point will also be added to my favorite proposal of the week. The one with the highest points will win the title of the Champion.

Now on to the challenge…
In this first challenge, you will be designing a brand new Cirque du Soleil show for Disneyland’s Downtown Disney. For years, La Nouba has been at WDW’s Downtown Disney entertaining guests. When designing your very own cirque show, I want you to include a few things. First off, you must have some type of storyline to go along with the show. Feel free to make use of a storyline relating to a famous performer, as Cirque has done this before. However, make sure you do not copy any themes. For help on this, I would recommend checking out the Wikipedia page of Cirque du Soleil shows. Along with the storyline to the show, you must include some information about the acts and performers that are going to be present within the show. These acts must relate to and be integrated into your storyline in some way. Other thoughts you may want to consider would be a description of the outside of the building, some notes on the costumes, or what type of music might be played during the show. Good luck with designing your very own Cirque show for Disneyland!

From Andy Milito
Posted January 2, 2012 at 7:43 AM
Sounds very difficult! Can't wait to see what out contestants will come up with!

From Tim W
Posted January 2, 2012 at 3:50 PM
I seemed to have forgotten to mention the 5 participants in this competition of great minds. From Season 1, the original TPA, we have the young, talented Nick Markham. From the mini (well not so mini) special water season, WPA, we have the incomprable James Koehl. TPA Season 2 finale was marked by the 2nd epic battle between the WPA winner, and this winner of TPA 2, the amazing and resident Disney fanboy, Dan Babbitt. From our sister series, The Next Walt Disney, run by Andy Milito, the fantastic Joseph Catlett will be participating. And finally, our newest Theme Park Apprentice winner, fresh off from his own string of games, comedic genius, Jeff Elliott.

From James Koehl
Posted January 2, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Cirque du Soleil, the world-wide theatrical phenomenon, has created its newest production for a spectacular new theatre in Disneyland Resort's Downtown Disney. The exterior is inspired by the unique design of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, while the interior contains seating for an audience of 1,500 surrounding a three-fourth thrust performance area and stage specially designed for the technical needs of this theatrical experience. All seats are positioned to provide excellent visibility to all performance areas.


"l'Equateur", French for "The Equator", tells the story of a mythical contest between Le Soleil (The Sun) and La Lune (The Moon) for the affection of Notre mere la Terre (Mother Earth). Music by Mannheim Steamroller along with the amazing lighting, costumes and make-up that Cirque du Soleil is famous for, and spectacular circus and theatre performers will immerse the audience in a breathtaking experience.

Le Soleil and La Lune are portrayed by two aerial dancers who will be suspended above the stage and performance area for the entire show. Le Soleil will make the first appearance, entering the darkened theater from behind the audience in a blaze of golden light, soaring around the space while performing a spectacular aerial ballet. He will then fly to the stage area and dramatically "summon" Earth from the center of the thrust area. The floor will open and from it will rise Earth, a beautiful stylized open-work metallic globe with the continents depicted by woven-mesh panels. As it rises over the performance area, in the middle of the theater, it starts to slowly rotate and a beautiful female aerial dancer is seen inside it, gracefully suspended in the middle of the globe. Notre mere la Terre, who we shall call Mother Earth, will remain floating inside this floating, slowly turning sphere for the entire performance, watching, dancing, and occasionally interacting with her "suitors" as they try to win her favor.

As she finishes her dance, another aerial dancer, La Lune, flies in and begins to circle Earth as if in orbit. Dressed in radiant silvers and blues, he is at times silly, humorous, and flirtatious, the complete opposite of Le Soleil, who is elegant, graceful and just a little bit pompous in a gentlemanly way. Earth, with La Lune following it, moves to the stage area, where it hovers center stage with Le Soleil to the audience left and La Lune to audience right of her. Occasionally La Lune will orbit Earth, not constantly (which would be a bit distracting at times) but when needed to focus the audience's attention on him.

Le Soleil and La Lune each are trying to win the affection of Mother Earth by showing her some of the amazing entertainments that can be found on her surface. As they choose a location on the earth to feature, the globe will rotate to show that area to the audience and that area will glow when featured. The back wall of the stage will be an LED screen and will show appropriate scenes or designs to help establish the location of the scene being presented in the performance area. The floor of the performance area, which will close as soon as the Earth rises up, will also be able to be lit from both underneath and above with appropriate designs, patterns and images for the different cultures featured during "l'Equateur".

Le Soleil and La Lune will alternate turns trying to impress Mother Earth. First Le Soleil will fly to the globe, which will turn to face the location towards the audience, then he will "touch" the location on the globe. The spot he touches will start to glow, then he will gesture to the performance area and the circus act bathed in warm light will begin. When it finishes, La Lune will fly around the Earth flirting with Mother Earth and teasing Le Soleil, then will gesture to the performance area and another act will start, this one darker and set at night. When this act finishes La Lune will go first, repeating the touching of the Earth globe that Le Soleil did, and the next act will start, this one also set at night, to be followed by Le Soleil's choice. Mother Earth will watch all the performances from inside the Globe, reacting to them and pantomiming her appreciation to Le Soleil and La Lune.

Example: Le Soleil moves to the Globe as it turns and presents the Americas to the audience. He points to the area of southern California, which lights up with a warm glow. The LED wall upstage, behind the Globe and aerial dancers, becomes a map of the L.A. metropolitan area, and the performance area floor lights up as a stylized grid of streets, highways and expressways. A warm California light floods the performance area. Performers on roller skates with large wheels race onto the stage, performing a dance on wheels demonstrating the wild chaos of driving in L.A.


Aerial performers imitating planes soar above the "drivers". The planes then fly out and the skaters race off stage and are replaced with Cyr wheel acrobats, who perform an amazing display of rolling, spinning and spectacular synchronized movements.


La Lune then takes control. The Cyr acrobats leave the performance area, the lights dim to a beautiful moonlit glow, the LED backdrop becomes Sleeping Beauty Castle at night, the floor of the performance area becomes the Central Plaza, and a dozen aerial performers descend from the starlit "sky" above the performing area, covered with LED lights that swirl and dance with variable-colored lights while the aerial performers are twisting and twirling above the audience, looking like living fireworks.
Mother Earth has been watching all of this with fascination, but she mimes to each that she can't decide which she finds more fascinating. La Lune now takes the lead, the globe spins to southeast Asia, and La Lune lights up Malaysia. The performance area goes dark and the back curtain of the stage glows a beautiful blue-white. Shadows of people, animals, and mythological creatures thirty feet tall appear on the curtain, and a Malaysian Shadow Puppet Play is performed.


The story is simple and humorous, but the impact of huge puppet shadows dancing across the curtain is breathtaking. Le Soleil has had enough of this. He brings light to the performance area and raises the curtain on the puppet performers (after the puppet show is finished) and we see that the puppeteers are actually clowns, oriental in appearance but with the universal look and actions of clowns that everyone can appreciate and love. The clowns put down the puppets and move onto the performance area, interacting with the audience members as clowns do, when suddenly a strangely-shaped cloth object falls to the stage from the grid over the stage. The clowns gather around it, looking at it confused but curious, when another object falls elsewher on the stage, then another and another. The clowns run around the stage, grabbing these soft oddly-shaped cloth bundles and start to assemble them into a group of large clown puppets twenty feet tall. The clowns use these giant puppets to entertain the audience with more "clownish" antics.

Several such challenges between Le Soleil and La Lune take place during each performance of "l'Equateur"-

In Australia, Le Soleil has the floor of the performance area retract to reveal trampolines, and gymnasts will interpret the kangaroos of Australia with a remarkable demonstration of trampoline skills. In response, Le Lune will change the performance space into the deep blue of the Great Barrier Reef, and an aerial ballet of dancers and trapeze artists will fill the space with the colorful fish and dazzling corals of Australia's coast.

In Brazil, Le Lune will turn the stage and performance area into Carnival, with Samba dancers and stylized floats circling the stage in a blaze of color under a starlit sky. Le Soleil answers this with the performance space becoming Copacabana Beach and the Brazilian sun bathes a group of gymnasts and acrobats performing amazing feats of skill and gymnastics.

Other countries, peoples and cultures from around the world will fill out this celestial contest between Le Soleil and La Lune for Mother Earth's affection, but who will she choose? Each has shown her the remarkable variety of life and talents of the creatures who live on her surface. Finally Mother Earth realizes that everyone and everything is important and that all must coexist as one.

Using the powers of the Universe (and the magic of Cirque du Soleil theater rigging) she sends Le Soleil to the center of the performance space, to the place where she first rose from the stage. She climbs out of the Earth globe (which remains, turning slowly and now glowing warmly, over the stage) and moves to La Lune. She takes him by the hand and leads him to join her over the performance space, with Mother Earth orbiting Le Soleil and La Lune orbiting Mother Earth. All do a synchronized aerial dance, while other aerial dancers representing distant planets and comets enter and join in the celestial dance. The stage wall, the ceiling and even the very walls of the theater glow with millions of stars, and the floor of the performance space becomes a beautiful map of the earth.


Performers from all parts of the show return to the stage and weave their performances together into a swirl of movement, color, light, costumes and dance, showing that, together, the Universe is greater than the sum of its parts.

"l'Equateur", the newest production from Cirque du Soleil, now playing at Disneyland Resort's Downtown Disney.

From Manny Rodriguez
Posted January 2, 2012 at 7:29 PM
wow that sounds awesome i would see that

From Nick Markham
Posted January 2, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Enter a world where the impossible becomes possible, where gravity is defied, and where fantasy becomes reality...enter the mind of Walt Disney in Phantasy, by Cirque du Soleil.

The show begins with a screen draped across the stage from the ceiling, an aurora of colors radiates from beyond the screen as the headline act of the show preforms, The Silhouettes.

The story begins as the silhouettes show what appears to be Walt himself, sitting on that park bench as he watched his girls riding the merry-go-round. Once Walt is depicted envisioning his plan for Disneyland, vintage video footage being displayed across the screen everything goes black as a thunderous boom shakes the theater.

When the lights appear back on, a scene resembling Main Street is shown, with a series of thirty-foot-tall street lamps dispersed across the stage, to be used for this Chinese Pole Act.

Then the Silhouettes (a recurring thematic element) return for a transition between scenes (as they will do throughout the show). The scene now depicts a Jungle, while this act preforms:

The next scene (after the silhouettes transition), depicts a New Orleans Square theme, an atmosphere perect for the french-based Cirque du Soleil with this act, along with many dancers below:

The next scene is filled with a clear blue sky over a mountain of red rock as a tribute to Frontierland, while a group brings a whole new deifnition to rock climbing.

The next scene reveals a magnificent castle looming over a pool of mist over the stage, featuring a series of acrobats flying over and around the castle in a peaceful, beautiful scene.

After the Silhouettes, a toon town is shown across the stage, as a signature comedy clown act preforms with a mix in of some acrobatics.

Finally, all the lights go out as Defying Gravity and Team iLuminate dazzle the audience for their finale:

The show finishes off with The Silhouettes, back with Walt Disney sitting on the bench, as he stands up, calls for his daughters, and departs off stage, being a nice ending to your magical night at Phantasy.

From Manny Rodriguez
Posted January 3, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Nick I do like your Idea of using the two groups from Americas got talent it sounds fun but your post was a little short so next time make it a bigger post so we get everything and understand the story still good job

From Manny Rodriguez
Posted January 3, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Nick I do like your Idea of using the two groups from Americas got talent it sounds fun but your post was a little short so next time make it a bigger post so we get everything and understand the story still good job

From Andy Milito
Posted January 3, 2012 at 2:25 PM
Both were excellent!

From Tim W
Posted January 3, 2012 at 3:04 PM
Hey everyone, I would just like to make this clear that I would like the challenge threads kept strictly for the proposals. There is a discussion thread that I have posted where you may feel free to talk about the likes/dislikes of the proposals. Thanks.

From Nick Markham
Posted January 3, 2012 at 3:20 PM
Yeah, I wish I had more time to work on my submission, but I've got a lot on my plate as it is. Still, I'm glad I can still participate in this and plan to do the best I can to deliver some interesting proposals.

From Tim W
Posted January 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM
Here's the schedule:

Challenge 1: Due January 6th, Voting 7-8
Challenge 2: Due January 13th, Voting 14-15
Challenge 3: Due January 20th, Voting 16-17
Challenge 4: Due January 27th, Voting 28-29
Challenge 5: Due February 3rd, Voting 4-5

Finale February 6th.

From Jeff Elliott
Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Cirque du Soleil presents

Buratino is the Italian word for puppet, and nearly synonymous in Europe with the Italian story of Pinocchio, the marionette that was given life and later became a real boy.

The music will be a mixture of original songs and scores from the various productions of Pinocchio over the years including the Disney animated classic, the 1958, 1968, and 1976 TV musicals, and the 2007 opera. Some of the songs will be reimagined by some contemporary yet older artists such as the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, Tom Petty, and Elvis Costello with the music on Pleasure Island being industrial rock music featuring extended cuts from Nine Inch Nails. The music will be sung by singers that take no part in the action of what is going on in the center of the stage and all music is rendered by a live band.

The only dialog spoken will be lip-synched to sound bites from the Disney animated classic. These moments will be few and far between, used only to make important plot points. There will also be points at which certain establishing shots from the animated classic are displayed across an LCD backwall, but like the dialog this will be seldom and only used as atmosphere and to make important location references.

The stage will be custom designed to fit with the production including many different lifts and movable stages, similar to KA, but instead of two large movable stages, Buratino will feature many different smaller platforms that can be specially adjusted as need presents. The stages can be raised all of the way up to the ceiling as well as being lowered far below the viewing lines into a void similar once again to KA, about 70 feet below the sight line of the stage. The different stages can be configured as hills, a cliff, waves, the moving inside of a whale and many other things. A static portion of the stage about 4-5 feet wide will jut out into the audience to pull interest away as major set pieces are changed. Even though the stages can be moved independently of each other, they have ability to work in units as well to move very large set pieces into place. Instead of sets loading in from the backstage area of the theater, all of Buratino’s sets and set pieces will be loaded from below and lifted into place. The back wall of the theater is a massive floor to ceiling LCD display. This back wall display will start very subtly, working only as a special effects mechanism for the Blue Fairy, but as the story progress, the display is used more and more, depicting a moving water environment, the inside of a whale, background action of Pleasure Island and such. The theater and stages are fully equipped to perform fog, real water effects to include splashes and fountains as well as spritzers over the audience, and blasts of fire.

The artistic design on this production will not be directly from the animated classic, but a hybrid of the animated classic combined with the original designs from classic illustrations from the book, adjusted to be functional for the actors. The characters should be instantly recognizable, but at the same time distinctly different than the animated classic. Since Pinocchio is a full bodied suit, and the only vocal sounds are lip-synched, there will be multiple people playing the character over the course of the production, allowing different abilitied performers to inhabit the Pinocchio suit for their own set pieces. This also provides a way to have Pinocchio appear at different locations on the stage, seemingly like a magic trick; for example, in one scene, Pinocchio jumps from a high cliff (stage) into the water (void), the LCD screen wipes up, the lights go to blue and a different actor in the Pinocchio suit on a cable does a routine simulating underwater swimming without the lights going down or the main character being offstage for more than about 3 seconds, and certainly not enough time to run from down below, get into a harness, and be lifted in time for the next scene. In true Cirque style, all of the characters will be costumed and applied with enough makeup as to disguise the fact that many different people play the main characters. As far as body types go, Geppetto will need to be played by someone very tall (at least 6'2") with a broad body and Pinocchio will need to be played by tiny gymnast types (less than 5').

As the audience enters the theater, the LCD background screen shows the interior of Geppetto's little house, in the foreground of the house is a shadow play of Geppetto carving Pinocchio out of wood.

As the lights dim and the show begins, one of the many stage platforms raises up to show Geppetto at his work bench putting the final touches on Pinocchio. Geppetto leans back to admire his work and then attaches Pinocchio to a cantilevered back harness that holds the marionette control sticks over his head and out in front of him. Geppetto and Pinocchio then do a very artistic dance using this unique setup, starting with simple moves such as a wave and walking, but soon it advances to spins and leaps, even though Pinnoccio is limp to start off with, it seems that he becomes more and more alive as Geppetto gets used to his puppet. After a series of really unique stunts, Geppetto walks back over to his bench and sets the limp puppet back down with a mournful sigh. Geppetto turns to his bed that was just raised out of the floor and lays down to go to sleep, the bed drops back down below the sightline after he pulls the covers up and the stage goes dark with the exception of a dim spotlight on Pinocchio.

On the LCD background screen, a blue spot appears and gets brighter before traveling around the screen trailing fairy dust. The spot the zips up past the top of the LCD screen as the Blue Fairy is lowered in from above. Around her are several silken scarves attached to a black metal frame and hanging down to just above the floor, two of which have been fashion into a simple seat for her to ride down upon. Once the frame has finished lowering, the Blue Fairy does an acrobatic act using the scarfs, culminating in spins, swings, and drops.


After completing the acrobatics, she is lowered down enough to tap Pinocchio with her wand, waking him up.

After destroying the workbench and knocking it over, Geppetto who is still in bed and raised up slowly after Pinocchio was woken up, wakes up and starts hunting around his house looking for an intruder in a bit of comic relief. After finding Pinocchio, Geppetto proceeds to test Pinocchio’s abilities by first having him wave his hand and then it proceeds to doing handstands and then one handed handstands and finally contortionist maneuvers. After this routine has completed Geppetto looks at a clock on his desk and gasps. He quickly hands Pinocchio a school book and an apple and shoves him out the door where he is joined by a couple of other school kids.

Pinocchio doesn’t do a very good job keeping up with the other kids, since he is too busy looking around as they walk up the narrow runway of stage the runs directly into the crowd. By the time Pinocchio gets to the end of the walkway, the other school children are nowhere around. Pinocchio is then spun around by Honest John (the fox) and Gideon (the cat). These two new characters are the comic relief in the show, but a little on the vicious side. After a clown routine with the three characters set to the premise of figuring out if Pinocchio has what it takes to become an actor, Honest John and Gideon march Pinocchio back toward the main stage to what has now transformed into a marionette theater. The fox and the cat take Pinocchio to Stromboli, who pays the fox and then roughly grabs Pinocchio and drags him backstage. There is a two second blackout, which is just enough time for the stage (which has been very flat and boring up to this point) to reconfigure itself to a 50 foot tall Rockettes style fountain complete with water spraying at the top and what looks from the audience as a pool at the bottom. Somehow, in those brief seconds, Pinocchio is standing at the top of the fountain (one of the many actor switches). The band does a fanfare and hits the first note of "I Got No Strings", right before Pinocchio trips and slams down the entire fountain and out the bottom of the stage into a catch net below eye level, while a fake splash makes it look like he splashed down. There are growls of horror from Stromboli and there is another exceedingly brief blackout. When the lights come back on, the entire cast of the next number is in their ready position behind Stromboli who is throttling Pinocchio until he realizes the audience is watching, then pats Pinocchio on the head, smiles big at the audience, and rushes off stage. Moments later the music for the marionette scene begins.

The marionette scene, the climax of the First Act begins somewhat like the animated classic, in this case the actors on stage are wearing harnesses that are set high enough on their backs that they can droop like puppets when they are not engaged and low enough on their backs that they can do flips. To complete the illusion, the hands and feet of the actors are attached to the ceiling by elastic ropes that are easily stretched and take up the slack as the actors move about at their own will. This scene has about 10 different actors in it. With the flying harnesses on, while this starts off as just a puppet number, it soon expands to a graceful aerial flying number. One of the very first theater puppets that Pinocchio meets is a French female puppet, similar to the one on the logo poster above. He is smitten by her and once the action takes off from the stage and Pinocchio is unable to participate, he follows her around like a puppy and attempts to help her, only getting in the way, yet she seems to like him and dances with him several times throughout this set piece. This turns the other puppets against Pinocchio who is unable to fight back as they are up in the air and he is stuck on the ground. After fending off their attacks for a bit, Pinocchio realizes that if he gets out of the reach of their strings, they can’t hurt him. Once the other puppets realize the same, they turn on the French puppet that Pinocchio likes and start roughing her up. Pinocchio is unable to just stand by and watch this happen and runs back into the fray to save his girl. After fending off the other puppets, Pinocchio tries to rescue her by breaking her strings, but he is shocked and unable to comprehend why she suddenly goes limp as soon as her strings are broken. As he tries to stand her up unsuccessfully, the other marionette go still and limp, then are raised up into the ceiling unbeknownst to Pinocchio. Still not understanding why his girlfriend is not moving he tries to drag her off and rescue her, but suddenly Stromboli comes out.

With a quick series of blackouts that should look like a magic trick because in too short of a time, too much has changed on the stage (but accomplish through multiple Pinocchios and the fast moving floor), a large cage has been raised to the stage in the same spot that Geppetto’s workbench was, preloaded with Pinocchio and the French puppet, Pinocchio is still trying to get his girlfriend to come back to life. Stromboli is standing nearby laughing horribly. After another blackout, Stromboli is asleep, and Pinocchio, still trapped in the cage in crying over the French puppet. The Blue Fairy comes back for Pinocchio to rescue him. The last thing that we see before the end of the first act is Pinocchio being carried away by the Blue Fairy, struggling against her, crying, and reaching out for the French puppet to try and save her, too.


We see Geppetto briefly as he shakes a finger at Pinocchio, and again gives him the books and an apple to take to school. Once again, Pinocchio joins a group of kids also going to school. And also once again he is waylaid by Honest John and Gideon. This time the comic sketch is about thrills and fun.

In a trick stolen from the band Pink Floyd, massive spotlights are glared onto the audience to briefly blind them in the moment that it takes to have the Pleasure Island set raised into place. The song "Hand That Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails starts up as we suddenly see the madness of Pleasure Island. In Pleasure Island, the set is very industrial in nature, with a steel beasty amusement park playing on the background LCD screen, darks and grey colors are the palate colors here, this makes Pinocchio stand out amongst the crowd and makes the fire bursts seem that much brighter. The set contains a usable BMX/skateboarding loop as well as many ramps and platforms to trick off of. In the back center, there is a large ramp that allows stunts to be performed vertically up the side of the LCD screen. While there is a coordinated dance to this set piece, it will be high energy and very busy with many things happening at the same time. There will be skateboard tricks, bicycle tricks, a few motorcycle tricks, and anything else that we can come up with to cram this scene with a bee hive of activity.


Toward the end of this scene, a motorcycle is brought out and taken down the walkway stage into the audience and then raced back to the stage and off the back-wall ramp where they are trying to grab a handkerchief that has been raised nearly to the top of the theater. As the motorcycle jumping winds to an end, some of the boys light the ramps and other set pieces on fire (which will not be actually burning, but the flame will be coming directly out of the stage right in front of the set pieces, so it should look pretty convincing). The people on stage all collapse down into a close heap laughing and arm punching each other, looking exhausted with their revelry.

There is a blackout and on the LCD screen it plays a silhouette version of a boy turning into a donkey, when the lights come back up all of the boys have turned into donkeys, Pinocchio has his ears and tail, and the Pleasure Island scenery pieces have been pulled under the stage. There is a scatter as the donkeys panic and run in every direction followed closely by unpleasant looking men. While this is going on, the stage is slowly morphing into a hill with support from the LCD screen. After several donkeys are rounded up, the men start chasing after Pinocchio who runs up the hill closely pursued. As the platforms rise, Pinocchio keeps on climbing up higher and higher platforms that place themselves just before Pinocchio needs them, creating what looks like a cliff below. Pinocchio then has to start jumping from platform to platform high above the base of the stage. His pursuers do the same but keep running into each other and falling, to be caught in nets 30 feet below the audience’s eye level. Pinocchio finally reaches the last and highest platform, and with the LCD screen behind them, showing that it is a cliff above a body of water, Pinocchio swan dives from his platform 100 feet up in the air and into the water, once again being caught 30 feet below the sightline of the audience, leaving the last of his pursuers scratching their heads and unwilling to follow in that death dive.

The LCD back screen wipes up with the water that was at the base of the cliff to show that we are now under water and the lights dim to a blue hue. While Pinocchio is stuck on the bottom of the lake and looking for a way back to the surface, the next performing act starts, involving acrobats themed to crabs climbing on an underwater structure.


After the act, all of the "crabs" panic and leave in a hurry, but we don’t immediately understand why. Pinocchio then starts swimming to the surface using flying cables. Once Pinocchio reaches the surface, he finds Geppetto nearby in a small boat looking for him. Geppetto pulls Pinocchio into the boat and it is immediately attacked by the whale. After a short and thrilling chase, mostly done on the LCD screen, Geppetto and Pinocchio find themselves in the belly of the whale, using a drop platform, they both surface in the water right by an old ship that had already been swallowed, they pull themselves up and fall exhausted onto the deck of the boat.

The next act is designed to look like jumping fish. Using old human cannonball technology updated to the current era, there will be four different launching mechanisms off to the side of the stage and underneath it, so when a performer is launched, they hit the eyelevel of the audience moments after leaving the barrel and arch high over the top of the boat Geppetto and Pinocchio are resting on, then back down past eyelevel of the audience before dropping into a catch net. After the first couple of plain layouts, the jumping fish performers than start doing spectacular moves flipping in all different ways, swan dives and other such moves. With the four side by side launch mechanisms, it will load much faster and keep the action going. During this scene, the floor of the stage will ripple constantly simulating the inside of the whale.

At the end of the performance set, Geppetto sneezes a couple of times, giving Pinocchio the idea to smoke their way out of the whale. They start a fire on the boat and then dive into the water (into the same catch nets that the jumping fish were using). There is a blackout and on the LCD background screen, the clip from the classic animated movie plays showing the whale sneezing.

Now on flying rigs Geppetto and Pinocchio are fighting to get back to the surface. Geppetto tries to swim, but goes limp after a moment of not being able to breath under the water and Pinocchio takes over trying to swim Geppetto to the surface. Once they break the surface (delimited by the LCD screen) Geppetto is able to take a deep breath, but Pinocchio is not able to as another wave breaks over the top of them.


Lights up on Geppetto sitting on a beach (made with help from the moveable floor platforms) crying over Pinocchio’s limp body.


Lights up on Geppetto, already in his house, laying a limp Pinocchio down on his bed. He falls into a chair next to the bed and continues to weep over Pinocchio.


The Blue Fairy’s entrance is the same as before, this time Geppetto sees her and watches in fascination. His slowly pursues her (in a spotlight - allowing the "puppet" Pinocchio to be replaced with the "real boy" Pinocchio in the darkness) with a pleading look as she does a brief couple of wire moves before taking Geppetto’s hand and allowing him to lead her over to Pinocchio. With the wave of the wand she turns him into a real boy, the "real boy" Pinocchio wakes up, sits up and is pulled out of the bed by Geppetto in a massive hug. Music swell. Blackout. Curtain call to the classic Disney song "When You Wish Upon a Star" with the lights up encouraging everyone in the audience to sing along with the words that appear on the LCD screen.


From Dan Babbitt
Posted January 5, 2012 at 4:45 PM
Cirque du Soleil: Découverte


Disney, Cirque du Soleil, and One Little Spark Imagination Shop would like to introduce you to the new production of Cirque du Soleil called Cirque du Soleil: Découverte.

Since the beginning of time and through the ages Humans have been discovery new inventions, discovery new worlds, and discovering new lands to spread and grow. Through discovery and inventiveness we have been led out from the darkness and into the light.

Découverte or Discovery will revolve around 4 “clowns” who will discovery or invent certain events throughout time that has changed the way we think or our lives. The first events portrayed are fire and the wheel all the way to the space age and landing on the moon.

The inside of the theatre will look like a Greek or Roman theater with Corinthian and Ionic column and arches holding up the theater. I choose this because the Greeks and Romans were very influential in discovering new inventions and bringing the known world from the barbarianism to civilized peoples.

The theater will be lit by torches on the columns but with a lot of red and orange lighting. The theater will look dark but have enough lighting to see and get to your seat. The stage will be completely dark and blank.


Here is what the theater looks like outside and the way the columns will look like. The seating will obviously be different and the theater will be enclosed but I believe you get a picture of what I might mean!

At the start of the show a voice is boomed over the theater and says:

“Since the beginning of time man has always curious, always learning, always discovering. But it started in blankness, in the dark until a spark was ignited and started it all! But lets start in the dark!” and you here him blow out the torches and the theater goes black!

At the stage you see a little flash and then a fire starts on stage that illuminates the 4 clowns who accidentally discovered fire. After they do some hilarious stuff and they all vote that one of the clowns have to use it first and figure it out.

Then the clowns leave and the first performance starts which will be fire spinners, fire eaters and other performers that use fire. This will be very chaotic and have a very ferocious and wild performance with no main theme.
fire bender Pictures, Images and Photos

This whole setup will be a recurring theme. With the 4 clowns discovering the new event or invention and then a performance that goes along with the discovery. The clowns will vote for who has to figure out the discovery which will be the same clown who always tries to get a monkey to do it but always gets voted down have to do it!

Then the performance related to the discovery but as performances goes each one will get more complex more structured as the age of Humans go from the age of darkness to a more civilized world. After each performance the theater will get brighter and less dark all the way to the end of the show.

For example here are a couple examples of sets:

The discovery and invention of the wheel. The 4 clowns are trying to move a large load so each decide to make something that could help move it and one brings back a square block etc… and one brings a wheel. The clowns vote the one that always gets voted holds a picture of a monkey and votes for that but gets voted down and has to move the load. Then the performance with the German Wheels.


The discovery and invention of flight. The clowns do something funny and then the performance is Arial Ballet in Flight.


Other themes will be inventing the Greek pump, the discovery of the new world, inventing machines, and others and finishes with spaceflight and man on the moon. Will the monkey ever be used? Probably not!

After the last performance is over the booming voice comes back to tell people to look around you. On the walls and column will be names of the most influential or famous inventors, and explorers throughout time.

And says:

“Look around you and will see invertors and explorers that changed the world. But the discoveries are not done YOU are not done yet. Discover Explore and Invent and change the universe! Make this place a brighter place for everyone to enjoy and live. I have even left a place for you on the wall!”

From Joseph Catlett
Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:23 AM
The title has the double meaning of the word “Vie”, which in French means LIFE and the Roman Numeral “V” which means FIVE. This show will explore the concept of human life and its five stages: Birth, Childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood and Death.
“V” is a celebration of the journey we all make from the womb to the grave.
The exterior of the building housing the show is a giant golden sphere evoking the cyclical nature of life, the so called circle of life, if you will.
As with all Cirque shows, this version will feature European style clowns (that is no white grease paint, a classical clown) however the clowns of this show will feature a troupe of 5 little people clowns named:
Nay (a sound alike to the French word meaning Birth)
Baybay (a sound alike to the French meaning baby)
Middy (a sound alike to the French meaning meaning middling)
Ohm (a sound alike to the French meaning Man)
Morty (a sound alike to the French meaning death)

During the preshow and between acts, these clowns interact with the audience and appear between acts.
The show begins with the theatre in complete darkness , the beat of a heart in the background slowly growing louder and then a slit of light pierces the darkness and a baby cries. Out of the light bursts a troupe of tumblers and acrobats all dressed in “nude” body stockings.
During this act the singer of this show, positioned above the proscenium, sings a song about new life and the promise of the future.
The next act of the show incorporates the 5 clowns and a troupe of german wheel acrobats and a tight wire act. A sense of play is at hand as the singer sings a song about the innocence of childhood. It is then that a male contortionist comes on stage and begins playing with an oversize ball, balances on it and walks around on it.
A second contortionist, a female, comes on stage balancing on her own over sized ball and they begin to play off one another. They then descend from the balls and begin a sensual dance in contortionist moves as the singer of the show sings a song about first love as we move into adolescence. The contortionist comes off as lovers entwined in a dance of affection and sensuality, the discovery of first love. As the lovers embrace and kiss, the light of the theatre go to black ending the shows first act. This is a steamy, but very PG way to end the first half and with the lights going off as the kiss happens suggests intimacy, but leaves it mostly to your imagination.

As the second half of the show begins we are welcomed back by the 5 clowns who are performing magic tricks and finishes with the two contortionist lovers being invited to stand atop a large crate as a curtain is raised and quickly lowered with their clothes changed from teens clothing to adult work clothes in the blink of an eye, the transition from adolescent to adulthood and the female is now visibly pregnant.
The singer now sings a song about the responsibilities of adulthood as a troupe of acrobats holding on to long swaths of fabric being swung around and flying through the air changing then to a second group of acrobats balancing on chairs and tables, stacking them to great heights and climbing to the top doing handstands and flips to and fro.
The stage now becomes very dark as the contortionist couple now enter the stage again, this time much older and much slower. The performers from the show come on stage draped in black hooded shrouds, in the style of an army of grim reapers. The couple is at first scared of this deathly scene until the figures take off their cloaks and are shown to be wearing shimmering white jumpsuits. The show’s singer sings a song about the nature of life and that death should not be feared but welcomed as a friend and a natural part of the human condition.
The white clad acrobats lead the male and female, now attached to flying wires, into the afterlife and into the heavens as the show ends. The stage is now pitch black again, a heartbeat can be heard and a baby cries in the distance…the cycle of life begins again.


From Tim W
Posted January 6, 2012 at 1:09 PM
James- I've already told you that the building design was inspired by my favorite architect, so bonus points for that. The story is definitely unique and interesting. The concept of a performance between the sun, moon, and earth is something I would have never thought of, but it worked well. The story sounds humorous, fun, and moving with that hidden metaphor of togetherness that you tucked within the storyline. I think this would attract a large amount of people, young and old. It could also be beneficial for Disney to capitalize on the individual characters of the show, and perhaps increase their prominence at Downtown Disney. Keep up the insane creativity!

Nick- I really enjoyed the connection between cirque and Disney. While it may not have had the creativity as the other proposal, your proposal had its own charm. The charm to this show is simple; people would be able to easily identify with the theme. People come to Disneyland, and then they see a show resembling Disneyland. There is no need for heavy marketing, or tons of explanation. I think your ideas could have been expanded a bit to incorporate more of a story to the separate scenes. Some storytelling about what happened in the jungle scene would be an excellent addition. My favorite element was the use of silhouettes. Silhouettes are something that I have always found to be very artistic, and I constantly make use of them in some of my art classes.

From Tim W
Posted January 6, 2012 at 1:49 PM
Jeff- I have to admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of Pinocchio. However, the idea of connecting puppets and Pinocchio to a cirque show was an intriguing idea. Your sets that you described sound dynamic and seem to follow with the storyline of Pinocchio well, and the idea to blend the Disney version with other version was a very artsy and smart move. I could easily see this show becoming a huge hit at Disneyland with the combination of fantasy and acrobatics. Despite the length, you did a fantastic job with describing everything in great detail, making the show come alive as I read through it. You may have changed my mind on Pinocchio for the time being because I feel in love with the concept and ideas behind this show.

Dan- The first impression I got from reading your proposal was that this show was constructed and designed to be a miniature Spaceship Earth at Epcot in a performance form. From the developing of inventions from the founding of fire, up to the Space race, our world has always been reaching for higher greatness. Your show encompasses this theme of how our human generation has been evolving and constantly growing in technology and intelligence. The way some of these inventions were incorporated was extremely clever, such as using fire during the opening sequence and the German Wheels. Discovery is obviously a universal theme, which everyone seems to understand. I’m glad that you chose to bring that theme alive in a cirque show that was executed beautifully.

From Tim W
Posted January 6, 2012 at 1:59 PM
Joseph- Your proposal was another work of creative genius, surely encompassing your artistic vision. The use of a simple title such as “V” is extremely Cirque du Soleil. I thought the double meaning, and your explanation about the title was very interesting. The names for the troop of clowns also helped me to immerse myself into your show further. As I continued reading, I have to agree that the show may not be suitable for all kids due to the themes that have been utilized, but that is definitely ok. Adults need a good show to see, and get away from the Disney madness where they will not find kids screaming every second. I thoroughly enjoyed your whole presentation, and feel that this might be something Cirque would be anxious to have in their hands.

As for my favorite of the week, this was a very difficult decision this week. I really enjoyed everyone’s ideas and they show the amount of work and effort you put into them. The creativity is definitely booming, and everyone had great storylines. However, I do have to choose someone who I thought had the most creative and innovative idea, while still keeping Disney in mind. The person that I feel best represented these qualities is Jeff Elliott. You will be earning 1 extra point this week towards your score.

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