BWW TV: David Shiner Brings 'KOOZA' to Life
Cirque du Soleil began preview performances Thursday, April 16th in New York with the latest big top touring show, KOOZA, for a limited engagement under the trademark blue and yellow Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) at Randall's Island Park. ZOOZA officially opens Thursday, April 23rd. ZOOZA Writer and Director David Shiner spoke with BWW TV about the emotional power of the production.
David Shiner, who is best known as a clown, started out as a street mime in Paris and his career really took off in 1984 when was discovered at the renowned circus festival Cirque de Demain. He went on to perform with a succession of well-known companies including the German troupe Circus Roncalli and the Swiss National company Circus Knie. Between circus engagements he toured with Cirque du Soleil veteran René Bazinet performing the two-man show they created.
David's first formal association with Cirque du Soleil came in 1990, when he performed in Nouvelle Expérience, touring for 19 months throughout Canada and the USA and playing for another year in Las Vegas.
David Shiner made his feature film debut in 1992, playing the part of a clown in Lorenzo's Oil, and the following year he played straight man to Bill Irwin in Sam Shepard's Silent Tongue. He and Irwin then created the two-man, wordless show Fool Moon, featuring music by the Red Clay Ramblers, who had also performed in Silent Tongue. This evening of 'inspired lunacy' ran from 1992 to 1999, including three separate runs on Broadway. Fool Moon won a special Tony Award for Live Theatrical Presentation in 1999, a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, and an Outer Critics Circle Special Achievement Award.
In 2000 David originated the role of the Cat in the Hat, the host and guide of the Broadway stage musical Seussical. With the support of a grant from the Pugh Foundation he went on to develop a show at Seattle's ACT Theatre and later adapted part of that show for his one-man production David Shiner in the Round.
The name KOOZA is inspired by the Sanskrit word "koza," which means "box," "chest" or "treasure," and was chosen because one of the underlying concepts of the production is the idea of a "circus in a box."
KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil that combines two circus traditions - acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.
Cirque du Soleil recently announced that 18 additional KOOZA performances will be added from May 26 till June 7, 2009. Tickets may be purchased online at www.cirquedusoleil.com.