The theatre for KÀ was created from the shell of a 2000 seat
theatre built at the back of the MGM Grand Hotel in 1995. In
2003 the building was stripped back to the walls and bare earth
before additional lobby, retail and backstage spaces were
added. KÀ, a multi-media acrobatic show created by Robert
Lepage and produced by Cirque du Soleil, opened in 2005.
Lapage located the story of KÀ in a mythic oriental world.
To support the story, the lobby and the theatre shift the mood of
the audience from the frenzied racket of the casino floor to a mood
of quiet anticipation. The promenade from casino to seat is
staged to maximise the dramatic impact of the architecture.
The audience enter the theatre along curving ramped corridors that
allow views of the ceiling of the auditorium while concealing the
room from direct view. The full extent of the room is hidden
until the last possible moment, when they turn onto the
cross-aisle. The inspiration for the interior architecture
came from the palisade of tree trunks that supports the Kiyomizu
temple in Kyoto. The volume of the auditorium is carved out
as negative space within an imaginary forest of columns. The
result is a cathedral-like volume in which the rhythm of the posts
and beams forms a seemingly endless space.
The architectural treatment of the auditorium is extended into
the stage area so that the boundary between the stage and the
auditorium is unclear. The stage floor was removed and the
auditorium seating pushed upstage under the proscenium arch.
The show is performed on two moving platforms that cantilever out
over the void where the stage floor used to be. The narrative
takes the audience on a journey by land, sea and air over beaches,
cliffs, mountains and forests. Lepage uses the constantly
changing geometry of the moving platforms to play with the
audience's point of view of the acrobatic action even as they
remain fixed in their seats. Combined with Cirque du Soleil's
seemingly weightless performance skills, the result is an
uninterrupted sequence of scenes that appear to defy gravity.
The main platform is 15m (50ft) wide by 7.6m (25ft) deep and
1.8m (6ft) thick. Weighing over 125 tonnes, it can pitch,
roll and travel 24m (80ft) vertically from the basement to a
position high above the audience. A smaller platform 9m
(30ft) x 9m (30ft) cantilevers from upstage. The two
platforms may be used together or separately to form a range of
dramatic performance spaces. The stage is 36m (120ft) wide
and deep. The grid is 30m (100ft) above the nominal stage
level; the basement floor is 15m (50ft) below.