Well last Thursday thanks to the good folks at LDI I had the adventure of a lifetime at Cirque Du Soleil: KA. I got a three hour backstage tour with the T.D. of all 9 floors of this $200 million building. We had a dinner break. Then after a few minutes hanging in the control booth. I got assigned to work on stage with Tony the deck electrician. The guy's been there from the start and knew every detail of the space. Although his job is primarily moving around a few lights during set changes and fixing things if there's a problem, he helps the other departments with set changes too (a great lesson for those with the King/Queen of the booth complex). The Assistant L.D. (I think) gave me a wireless clearcom pack set to a channel that only he, myself, and Tony were on so I had a private audio tour as we went along. However before I could go backstage my tour guide had a problem. With only 2 or 3 minutes before curtain it was discovered that the riggers had stepped on some instruments and blown the lamps again... apparently a regular problem in this one specific location. So while the show was starting, my guide was installing new lamps on stage. Once that was sorted out I was delivered backstage walking through the house high in the air on the catwalk network. Once in the back there was a series of doors slamming and people standing around casually talking. I was confused and shocked and asked why aren't people being quiet. It turns out when you have 4000 speakers in a theater (including speakers inside every seat) you don't have to worry about being quiet back stage. So Tony takes me around a corner and suddenly we are standing just inches off stage on a catwalk 30' above the real floor, watching a scene on a flying stage. The scene ends and we move for Tony's first cue. Hugging a stairway we crawl within inches of being seeing. He points to a specific light hanging on a rail on stage (as projections of flaming arrows fly inches above our heads) and says "when the scene is clear wait for the actors to leave the stage, the crew to go on stage, and when this stage manager finally goes up the steps you go to that point and watch... then I'll pick you up when I leave the stage". I can't believe I'm where I'm at having the conversation I'm having. Then the fist bumps began. Apparently every time an actor leaves stage and meets a technician there is a fist bump. Tony said, "Go along with it. If you don't do it you'll only confuse the artists." So I proceeded to fist bump my way through the evening. Then we rush up the steps. He starts helping with the set change giving me a detailed narration of what he is doing on the com. When the change is done we go in the back and he plays air guitar. Oh yeah I like this guy From there on it was non-stop insanity. With Tony saying things like, "When I wave my hand I want you to stand exactly HERE so you don't get killed." What a rush. Watching massive lifts moving, twisting and turning the massive main deck, acrobats flying and I'm inches away underneath or above them in the dark. At one point he says "don't look up." So I look up of course.... just in time to get hit by 3 or 4 lightning strikes... I went blind for a few minutes so it's hard to know how many for sure. I think this is the product... I'm not sure which model they have but let me assure you one should never look at 3 or 4 of them at once. Then there was the great climactic battle where 16 people are suspended on their own independently controlled high speed winch lines high in the air battling. I got to stand directly under them watching the battle and dodging things thrown to the floor in the fight. I could go on for days about the technology in this show: The stage lifting system as described in this video that was linked to in the main LDI 2008 thread is like a massive Disney ride. Oh and that stage on that lift has a touch sensitive deck that sends messages to the booth where to put projections to make the deck ripple when people walk on it in the battle. There's the IR motion sensor system that tracks artist movement to project bubbles around them when they are "underwater". There's real and projected flaming arrows, Pyro, 4000 speakers, Over 3000 lights... it's unreal. My favorite excess are the "Lighting Panels of Doom". During the Wheel of Death scene, these two huge panels come flying in. 24 rows tall by 8 rows wide... 192 PARS per panel. One per side of the stage = 384 Pars (looked like S4 or similar). All running around 30-40% for a nice orange glow. When the scene is done they go away never to be seen again. Awesome look both lighting and architecturally. It must have cost at least $100k-$200k to buy, build, and install for only about 4 minutes of show. THAT'S AWESOME. So thanks to all at Ka and LDI for making this possible. They are one amazing group of people. Thanks to Tony for taking me all through the dark places and bring me back alive (but exhausted). Finally, A special thanks to the anonymous CB member who works at Ka. I had a fabulous time in your world my friend. Thanks for sharing. If you ever get to Seattle let me know I've got a killer black box theater to show you. Want to work for Cirque? According to the KA T.D. your best bet is to be a college student and get an internship. A very high percentage get hired. Once you get in then you are set as Cirque likes to steal crew from other Cirque shows. Others I talked to (not KA employees) said that it appears they like to hire young hotshots who have a short but impressive resume (and preferably a degree). They don't seem to like hiring old dogs. To anyone who has any questions about the show ask a way. I spent 6 1/2 hours there and have a pretty good picture of how things work I can probably answer most of your questions. If I don't know the answer I bet our CB friend who works there would be happy to whisper the answers in my ear via P.M. to share with you.