Wayback Cirque

This year Cirque du Soleil officially turns 20 years of age! With that milestone reached I feel many wonder where can Cirque du Soleil lead us in the next 20-years? Or will it be with us at all? During the next few months we will be inundated with celebratory goods – from books to special events – to commemorate this special time. However, have you ever wished for a way to pull back the curtain of time and experience the Cirque du Soleil of the past?

Haven’t you?

I have. There are times when I would give almost anything to be able to sit in the theater for Mystère’s December 1993 premiere, or watch the changes unfold in 1995/1996. How about tagging along for Cirque’s Le Magie Continue (1986) tour through its native Canada? Or watch Cirque perform in Gaspé on June 16, 1984 — their first official performance. What about being there for their make-or-break performance at the 1987 Los Angeles Festival? Or, watching Cirque as they take their first steps in Las Vegas with the 1992-1993 staging of Nouvelle Experience.

Believe it or not, you can look back through time.

“You’re pulling my leg,” you say, because you know time travel isn’t possible in this day and age, right? You already know that once an event takes place there’s no way to re-create that same event ever again. Well, I’m here to say that time travel of a sort has been achieved. And while you can’t experience Cirque du Soleil as far back as 1984, you can take a look at what the company was doing eight years ago!

How is that possible? The Wayback Machine!

The Wayback Machine isn’t some sort of vehicle created by H.G. Wells, or by some wild-eyed white-haired scientist with a Delorian to physically journey back through time. It is a window into the Internet’s past, a tool that can be used to take a virtual quantum leap back in time. By using this machine people like you and me can gain access and use over 100 terabytes of recorded and stored information from 1996 forward. By using this database we can step back in time.

So how does this connect with Cirque du Soleil?

Simple. We can use the Wayback Machine to see how the Cirque du Soleil website looked and what information it presented about the company and its productions from 1996, or 1997, or 1998, or… you get the picture. Unfortunately 1996 is the current limit of archived information, but what resides in the database for our favorite circus is simply amazing, and mind-boggling at the same time.

Why, by selecting any of the links on the database, not only are we treated to a retro version of www.cirquedusoleil.com, we are faced with a window into Cirque’s past. Information that was once posted on their website, which up until now has been lost, is now ready to be re-discovered.

The first link we have is October 31, 1996. That’s when the database WebCrawler actually took a snapshot of the site, and what it took does not disappoint. The first thing featured is Rene Bazinet as the Barron for its centerpiece menu, but it’s what’s connected to that menu that’s important. I learned some very interesting, and oft forgotten, things about Cirque du Soleil.

Such as…

— Cirque du Soleil was a creative consultant for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and participated in the creation and production of the opening and closing ceremonies.

— In collaboration with AT&T (Cirque’s 1996 tour sponsor), two acts from Quidam were brought to Atlanta for a special engagement. Olga’s Hand balancing Act was presented at the Santana concert on July 31st and Chris Lashua’s German Wheel act opened Ray Charles and Joan Osborne concerts on August 1st and 2nd of that year.

— Cirque du Soleil announced a permanent show for Berlin, Germany to premiere in the year 2000. Since this didn’t happen it is interesting to note that an agreement in principle with developer Dr. Peter and Isolde Kottmair would have provided a theater for Cirque in a large real estate complex that would have been constructed on Leipziger
Platz, in the heart of Berlin. The theater would hold 1,600 patrons, be built at a cost of $70 million (DM), and be designed by architect Aldo Rossi, winner of the 1990 Pritzker prize. Had this project actually been undertaken, Cirque du Soleil would have been contracted to play Berlin until 2015.

By selecting a different link, this time from 1999, I’m treated to a totally different but equally retro version of Cirque’s site, this time featuring the more familiar blue animated Cirque du Soleil logo that was a staple for them up until 2001. But the information flow is just about the same.

And I learned…

— Cirque du Soleil Technologies was a new division created in 1998 that combined the set, prop and costume workshops to provide set and set element creators and designers with full construction services, at the best prices, for the production of all set designs for not only its own but for external clients as well.

— Cirque joined forces with Le Musée de la Civilisation to present “Circus Magicus” from June 10, 1998 to September 5, 1999 – a special touring exhibit on the history of the Circus around the world and through the ages.

— On Thursday, June 11th, 1998, a New York woman became the 3 millionth spectator of Mystère at Treasure Island. Jody Newman of Glen Head, NY, was greeted by a group of colorful Mystère characters and an assortment of gifts to celebrate the show’s milestone. Newman and her husband, Larry, later joined the cast on stage for a final bow and then went backstage to meet the cast and crew following the performance. If was Newman’s first visit to Mystère.

— On October 22, 1999, Cirque du Soleil announced an alliance with TVA Group, North America’s largest private-sector producer and broadcaster of entertainment, news and public affairs shows to develop and produce international audiovisual productions such as a Variety Series (to begin production in 2000), Documentaries, a Movie of the Week about the life and career of Sylvie Fréchette (the Olympic synchronized swimming champion that performed and coached with “O”), and an Animated Children’s Series.

This is but a small sample of the amount of news, reviews and other information available on archive at the Wayback Machine. There’s a ton more just waiting to be uncovered and discovered that I’ve not even mentioned here. So, if you find time to journey back to Cirque’s recent past, I highly recommend it!

But I do have a word of caution here. Not every link works and not every image will display. If you’re savvy, poke around with your mouse and aren’t afraid to explore, you’ll find a plethora of things you thought were lost long ago.

Oh, just one more thing to answer then…

“How do I get to the Wayback Machine?!”

< http://www.archive.org/web/web.php >