Dragone’s most audacious adventure
myconcierge has an exclusive sneak peek at what’s in store for Dubai as La Perle gears up for a mid-2017 launch
Described by creator, Franco Dragone, as a ‘difficult and audacious adventure’, the new attraction and fantastical show is set to make literal waves when it opens next year, thanks to a waterborne set that promises something that the destination has never seen before.
The enterprise of introducing this new show and attraction goes way beyond the creativity and innovation required of conceiving a hit production. We are talking about a custom-built structure that will house 450 separate shows a year with up to 1,300 attendees each. The aquatic theatre features a pool containing 2.7 million litres of water with variable levels that can be adjusted in a few moments, while acrobatics take place up to 35 metres above.
We were taken on a tour that took us back of house, as well as to see the auditorium under construction. Phones and cameras were forbidden and we were told that the build is involving the most advanced technology that exists in the world. Highlights included seeing the skeleton of the 60-tonne drawbridge take shape, which will take artists onto the centre of the stage. The entire theatre should make the show very accessible, as despite the large capacity it doesn’t feel vast with more depth than width. Perhaps this is an illusion as the construction is still very much underway and it will obviously look extremely different when millions of gallons of water are added, but the potential seems to be there.
Dragone commented: “People involved in the show are realising just how difficult it is during the phases of development and construction to create a unique and specific product. We are not trying to be different, but specific and this is a very important part of our objectives. Until the end of the process, we never know all the eventualities and what we will face.”
Attention to detail is something not foreign to Franco Dragone as one of the world’s most sought-after artistic directors. Amongst his creations are Le Reve (Las Vegas), House of Dancing Water (Macau) and Aida (Naples).
Already in shape are the 65 performing artists from 23 countries who are training hard for new roles that will see them permanently in residence here in Dubai. Despite the long lead time ahead of their first show, they are training 12-hours a day and look every bit as fit and capable as the gymnastic athletes witnessed on the Olympic stage just a few months ago. Arnaud Pauqet, acrobatic designer and head coach, explained that the performers range in age from 18 to 35 years old and comprise artists that began their careers in the circus, right through to ex-Olympians.
The stars of the show will be the performers we saw hard at work that granted us a brief glimpse of skills that draw upon their abilities as seasoned athletes and artists. Hanging from the trapeze, practising floor work, vaults and somersaults were enough to whet our appetite for what is to come. Tara Young, Operations Resident Artistic Director, explained that the cast has been selected from thousands of applicants, with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise. A colleague was with her who joined the circus in Columbia at the age of 12, while another was a runner-up in America’s Got Talent in 2014.
Everything about this new attraction is an exercise in complication and creativity. We were told that even the seats are one-offs and won’t be found anywhere else in the world. And looking ahead to the show itself, Dragone is aiming to create something that takes his audience through a full range of emotions. “We aim to create something so unique, unexpected and spectacular that everyone will have goosebumps. There is obviously no dialogue in the show, but we use a fundamental language that everyone can understand.”
Dragone concluded by saying that his ambition and intention for the show is to be the synthesis of all he has achieved before: “I want to talk to the soul, the heart and the brain of the people. I want the show to be sophisticated and mainstream, which are two things that are not often found together. However, a good chef produces cuisine that can be appreciated by everybody.”
Bookings for the new show will be taken from January when tickets go on sale for consumers, while group bookings are being taken from November.