Toruk – Avatar Cirque du Soleil – costumes of Na’vis

Preparing a theatre version of a film or even an animation movie is always a great challenge. It is extremely a big job, if the original film is a 60 percent 3D animation movie – like Avatar. Do you remember the James Cameron movie?

Cameron created a whole world of Pandora moon, including the inhabitants: the Na’vis – the blue humanoids with long tails, the animals – like the top predator Thanator, the Direhorses with 6 legs, or the Toruk, the 25 m wide flying animal. As it is described, Toruk is a wild animal, taming succeeded only once by the grandfather of Neytiri, the daughter of the leader of the Na’vi tribe.

The theatre version of Avatar-story come out this December under the title of: ‘TORUK – The First Flight.’ The story of ‘Toruk’ is dated 3000 years ahead of Avatar-story. There are no humans, no spaceships, no battles – the key word is: organic.

The producing company to put ‘Toruk’ on the stage is the famous Canadian company, Cirque du Soleil.

It’s new to have an actor onstage talking, to have a show based on story instead of acrobatic acts. There’s a lot of acrobatic in the show, but it’s like narrative acrobatic. Everything has to contribute to the story.

said Michel Lemieux, one of the two co-directors of Cirque du Soleil’s ambitious new project ‘Toruk’.

Actors and puppeteers play the Na’vis – no animatronics nor robots. Acrobatics are important elements of the show, but in this case narrative acrobatic elements: each of them contributes the story.

Costumes of ‘Toruk’

The costume and makeup designer of ‘Toruk’ is Kym Barrett. Let’s take a look at her carrier up to ‘Toruk’!

Barrett has mastered a vast array of theater, TV and film genres including action, adventure, animation, circus, comedy, crime, fantasy, horror, mystery, opera, period (1800s-1980s), romance, science fiction, and thriller. She debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2012 having designed the costumes for The Tempest directed by Robert Lepage.

TORUK – The First Flight is her second collaboration with Cirque du Soleil after TOTEM.

What was the main challenge of designing costumes for Toruk?

First of all, it must have been in line with the make-up, which is quite important – as the Na’vis have their special characteristics: blue body, big eyes, cat-like head. The blue body colors are provided by leotards, while other parts of the costumes reflects the key word of Pandora: “organic”.

As Kym Barrett explained, all costumes must have had an organic handmade look – as if Na’vis would have done them of “available” materials from trees, plants etc. The costume design is not finished even after the opening show: the actor, the director and even the lights rehearsal could make changes to have a better look, to create the stage version of the myth.


Sources: Entertainment, Cirque u Soleil