Cirque du Soleil is probably the most famous artist act in the world. In 2015 the stunning productions will again come to Budapest, this time with the well-established 1996 piece Quidam. Although each stop of the tour has its peculiarities, for two of the actors the Hungarian capital will be a little more special. Kata Bánhegyi and Viktor Katona are celebrating their homecoming in mid-February.
While the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson tribute show two years ago was full of light and music spectacles as well as humorous elements worthy of the King of Pop, Quidam will be no less spectacular but a bit more serious.
The story behind Quidam revolves around a little girl who is not really taken seriously by her family, says Bánhegyi, one of the Hungarian artists in the cast. The storyline is therefore a bit darker but this does not detract from the success of the play, which practically has not seen any changes during its almost 20-year run.
The cast, however, has seen some changes, which allowed Bánhegyi and Katona to become part of the world-famous circus show. Bánhegyi was hired in 2005 and she presents a jumping-rope number in the piece. “It is not easy to integrate into an existing show,” she says. The characters were all created at the beginning of the 1990s by the actors of the time and although the basic concept remains constant, every new member of the fluctuating cast brings little changes to the roles and thus to the act itself. While some 80% of the staff has been together for more than three years, changes to the cast are inevitable. The life out of a suitcase is not for everyone and “being away from the family all the time can be tough”.
Katona is currently the other Hungarian member of the group. “I knew already at the age of 14 that I wanted to be a part of the circus,” he says. “I’m originally from Dunaújváros but I moved to Budapest to be able to continue my gymnast career, then I enrolled in theatre school and started training aerials at a local circus studio.”
At the 2006 Budapest Circus Festival Cirque du Soleil scouts noticed him and invited him to join in the general formation at the Montreal headquarters. “I was 20 and really excited to travel to Montreal alone. Then at the airport someone approached me. It was my only cousin – whom I barely knew before – who was also on his way to Cirque du Soleil,” Katona adds with a laugh.
Much like other actors, he has a fixed scene and basically acts as an extra in the rest of the piece. As the seven artists rotate from show to show, in his own scene he has to be familiar with all the possible positions. “This is necessary to protect the joints,” he explains. Doing acts twelve metres high is about trust and technical perfection. “From the stands it looks extremely dangerous but if you know what you are doing it is actually very secure.”
Budapest will see five Quidam shows but be aware it is one of the hottest selling shows in the capital.
Cirque du Soleil – Quidam
February 13-15 (five shows)
Papp László Sportaréna
Address: Stefánia út 2, District XIV
Tickets from HUF 10,900