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Cirque Du Soleil's fourth show, their first after their North American breakthrough Le Cirque Reinvente, ran from 1990 through 1993. In the years following Reinvente's debut the fledgling company recruited many new performers, particularly from Europe and Asia. As well, the creative team wanted to deliver a more theatrical show than its predecessor; the ring and curtain at the back of the performance space were eliminated, and this helped to create smoother transitions between individual acts, tying them and their performers together into a larger whole. What resulted was the show that bridged the gap between the early tours and the spectacles that would establish the company as an entertainment powerhouse as The Nineties continued.

The plot is similar to Reinvente's, but slightly more complex and symbolic. Our protagonist, The Everyman, has been spirited into a Magical Land. Here dwell friendly, clownish "Flounes" and Angels, servants known as Corporation, and naughty Devils. What order there is here is kept by Madame Corporation (a slightly menacing ringmistress) and her right-hand man the Great Chamberlain, who more-or-less guide the confused-but-kind Everyman through a series of adventures and wonders.

The original tour ran from 1990-91 in North America. In mid-1992, several performers and acts from this show were carried over into the Japanese arena tour Fascination, which combined them with Le Cirque Reinvente segments and performers via the older show's plot and characters. Once that tour was completed, Nouvelle reopened at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for a special one-year engagement. Its closure at the end of November 1993 was the prelude to the opening of Cirque's first permanent production -- Mystere -- at the Mirage's new sister establishment, Treasure Island.

The show was filmed for TV in 1991 and won the 1992 Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program (Special); it is available on video and DVD. Compare with KOOZA, a much later show directed by David Shiner -- who played the Everyman during this tour's first leg and created his character's clown acts -- and created as a throwback to early Cirque efforts.

This show contains examples of:

  • Adipose Rex: Madame Corporation, also known as the Queen of the Flounes; whatever you call her, she's Large and In Charge.
  • Audience Participation: The Everyman has two segments involving this: He goes on a date with a young lady in his rickety "car", and attempts to film a silent movie with four audience members.
  • Bolero Effect: The soundtrack album's version of the show's final number, "Bolero". As used in the show, the song does not invoke this specific effect.
  • Carrying a Cake: The chair balancing act involves defying this trope -- the performer takes a "cake" (complete with lighted candles) up with him as the tower grows and grows.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience
    • Flounes = Browns and ochres
    • Corporation = Blue
    • Angels = White and gold
    • Devils = Red
  • Completely Different Title: The filmed version originally aired in the U.S. as Cirque du Soleil II: A New Experience, but the video versions use the original title. (Indeed, it was actually Cirque's third show to be filmed, but the La Magie Continue special never aired on U.S. television.)
  • Cool Old Guy: The gray-haired Great Chamberlain, particularly when he takes to the slackwire for a comic wirewalking act. Performer Brian Dewhurst was a few weeks away from his 58th birthday when the show opened; thus he was performing this role into his early sixties. He also took this act to the Fascination hybrid tour, playing the ringmaster from Le Cirque Reinvente. (In his late sixties he took over Mystere's clown act, but that's a whole other set of tropes...)
  • Dance Party Ending
  • Dramatic Thunder: In a non-sinister example, this is summoned by the Great Chamberlain to herald the arrival of the solo trapeze performer.
  • Edited for Syndication: Pre-Network Decay Bravo, in cutting the filmed version for a one-hour time slot (with commercials), dropped all the acts and transitions that featured the principal characters as part of the action with the exception of the Everyman's "film shoot" and the opening and closing sequences. If you saw this version first, it's startling to see the full-length version and realize how much was dropped -- Madame Corporation and the Great Chamberlain only appear in the opening and closing of the edit, whereas they weave in and out of the action in the full-length version (especially the latter).
  • Einstein Hair: The Great Chamberlain has this, which comes across as an angelic contrast to the devil-red hair horns of Madame Corporation.
  • The Everyman
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Antipodisme (foot juggling), in which the performer twirls parasols, etc. with their feet. More serene than speedy, but still extremely impressive.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title, of course, means "New Experience" in English.
  • Expy: Madame Corporation and the Great Chamberlain serve much the same function that the Queen of the Night and the King of Fools did in Le Cirque Reinvente, albeit with more ostentatious appearances and personalities. Since he introduces (and sometimes remains present in the background for) several acts, the Great Chamberlain also works as an analogue to the Ringmaster in Reinvente, which was probably a reason why Fascination cast the former's actor as the latter character.
  • Fiery Redhead: Madame Corporation.
  • Fountain of Youth: In the finale, the Everyman is de-aged into a boy.
  • Great Gazoo: Madame Corporation and the Great Chamberlain.
  • Magical Land: Possibly a Cloudcuckooland, given that it takes time for the Everyman to be accepted by most of the characters because he's so odd to them. In particular, they're initially frightened by his offer of a handshake.
  • Mascot: From 1998 to 2001, the official Cirque website used the Great Chamberlain as the site's "host".
  • No Fourth Wall
  • Non-Ironic Clown: The Everyman and the Flounes. The Great Chamberlain has aspects of this; in fact, when Brian Dewhurst was hired for this show, the role was strictly character work. It was only later that his long-established comedy slackwire act was incorporated into it.
  • Re Cut: The Mirage version cut the Intermission and the Russian bars act.
  • Singing Simlish / Speaking Simlish
  • Technician Versus Performer: This was the first Cirque show to use director Franco Dragone's artist workshops, in which he worked with the highly-skilled acrobats, dancers, etc. to bring out their inner performers. The characters evolved from what emerged from their respective artists during this process, and as a result the show featured technicians who were equally, simultaneously skilled as performers.
  • Trapped in Another World: The Everyman. He's sent back to where he came from at the end, but magically de-aged into a child.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: The aerial straps performer.
  • Whip It Good: Spoofing the animal acts of traditional circuses, the Great Chamberlain "commands" Corporation with a whip for the Korean plank act.
  • World of Ham: Every Cirque show is this to some extent, but the characters/performers in this one took it to heretofore unknown levels for the company. The television ad Mark Romanek directed for it, "Portraits" (viewable at his website), is practically a celebration of this.
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