Armed with makeup kits and contouring techniques, many professional makeup artists are able to transform human beings into incredible, otherworldly creatures. But the artists employed by the legendary Cirque du Soleil clearly go above and beyond.
Turning the performers into Na'vi wasn't the only unique scene-setting challenge faced by the production team. "TORUK - The First Flight" is set on the fictional moon of Pandora thousands of years before the events depicted in Cameron's movie, and the team was tasked with constructing an entire imaginary universe onstage.
So how on Earth — or should we say "how on Pandora" — did they make it look so real?
The creators behind the show have some pretty neat tricks up their sleeve.
Like this steep wall, which is actually a training device for the cast. Climbing straight up and down with a help of counterweights, the acrobats master their moves for the live show's recreation of a Hometree on Pandora. Once onstage, they are able to spin, flip, and do all sorts of mind-boggling stunts.
It takes a lot of hard work — and ingenuity — to move like a real Na'vi.
A great deal of work also goes into the scenography. Just check out these kites, flames and floating fabrics that together lend to the visually impressive atmosphere of the show.
Whoa, there. Seriously.
But, as evidenced by the company's behind-the-scenes videos, creating Pandora and all its magic onstage takes more than just brilliantly designed props and astonishing acrobatic skills.
The clip below offers a quick glimpse of what the experience will be like, and we're already getting goosebumps. The scene changes from erupting lava to lush jungles to waves of water in a matter of seconds, all thanks to amazing video projection special effects. The projections, covering 20,000 square feet of surface area on the stage, set the mood for the scene — and for the audience. The official show's leaflet explains the following:
"Video projections sometimes overflow beyond the set and right into the audience, giving spectators the feeling they're not merely gazing at Pandora, but they're actually ON Pandora."
To make the significantly sized effect possible, the crew uses 40 video projectors and a state-of-the-art tracking system through which the projectors react to the cast's movement as they make them.
"It's the language of film applied to the performing arts," explains multimedia stage director Victor Pilon in the leaflet. "And we alternate between large-scale, spectacular effects and more intimate moments that evoke emotion."
Surely quite a difference:
You can read about more about "TORUK - The First Flight" here.