SEP7IMO DIA – NO DESCANSARÉ blends the wonder of Cirque du Soleil with the explosive pop-rock energy of Soda Stereo – Argentina’s musical icons – to immerse spectators in the band’s symbolism and poetry. Much of this iconic band (and the show) is lost to most fans of Cirque du Soleil, and a good portion of people outside of Latin America. We hope the information below will help bring the world of Soda Stereo, and that of Sep7imo Dia – No Descansaré, into better light.
THE SODA STEREO ADVENTURE
In a breathtaking display of Cirque du Soleil’s signature artistry and physicality, SEP7IMO DIA conjures a world outside of time – a place where emotions ebb and flow like the tide, pulsing to the rhythm of the band’s emblematic songs. A cast of 35 performers take the audience through a series of visual, acrobatic and artistic tableaux that mix breathtaking feats of physical prowess with moments of poetic beauty, using the musical realm of Soda Stereo as a springboard for exploration.
Set on a strikingly unconventional stage, SEP7IMO DIA is an ode to the trio’s fiercely innovative artistic approach and musical legacy. The show picks up on the wave of euphoria that Soda Stereo unleashed in Latin America and beyond, and celebrates the iconic band’s deep connection with its fans.
A young man named L’Assoiffé, who thirsts for meaning and social justice and dreams of a better world, feels trapped. When he plugs into the music of Soda Stereo, he is whisked away to an inner world and is set free. The music of Soda permeates this inner world, spawning an entire civilization that resonates to the group’s music, poetry, culture and iconography. The inhabitants of this realm become the physical embodiments of the music. After experiencing a series of events and emotions inspired by the lyrics of the songs, L’Assoiffé ultimately realizes that the music we carry in our hearts is as faithful as a true friendship – deep and eternal.
The music of legendary rock group Soda Stereo was – and continues to be – the soundtrack of the lives of millions of Latin Americans. The trio formed in 1982 by Gustavo Cerati, Héctor “Zeta” Bosio and Charly Alberti branded into history the sounds of the post-military dictatorship decade of the 1980s, the golden age of Argentine rock. Soda Stereo’s debut was marked by a thirst for change, boldness, irreverence, and great pop hits with a post-punk energy. The band established a strong bond with fans and attained nationwide popularity. Album after album, Soda Stereo continued to reinvent itself with new sounds and new looks largely inspired by the British new wave scene, seducing new generations of fans along the way. The band covered a staggering amount of stylistic ground throughout their career and had a discography that was on par with their British and American peers. Soda Stereo soon became the most popular rock band in Latin America with an influence that extends to nowadays.
But for all Soda Stereo’s success, after the toll of years of touring, a last farewell concert tour was announced. Soda Stereo ended at the pinnacle and thanked its fans with the unforgettable phrase “¡Gracias totales!” After a ten-year hiatus that began in 1997, the band reunited for a successful tour with more than one million tickets sold. Unfortunately the euphoria would not last, as the band’s frontman, Gustavo Cerati, died in 2014 after lapsing into a coma… and it seemed that would be the end of Soda Stereo.
In 2013, Pop Art Music founder Roberto Costa, Pop Art Music CEO Diego Saenz and Soda Stereo Manager Dany Kon approached Cirque du Soleil to create a show based on the band’s music. SEP7IMO DIA – NO DESCANSARÉ comes to life exactly 10 years after the band’s final tour in honor of Gustavo Cerati.
SET DESIGN – A PLANET INSPIRED
When show director Michel Laprise visited the childhood home of Soda Stereo frontman Gustavo Cerati and spoke with his mother, he learned that young Gustavo was an avid fan of science fiction. When he later told Zeta and Charly about this revelation, they told him that sci-fi was one of the many passions that united all three of them in the first place. Inspired by this discovery, Michel imagined an entire world that thrived on the energy of Soda Stereo’s music and the deep connection that existed between the band and its fans.
The SEP7IMO DIA creative team decided to challenge the notion of a “normal” stage to express the story of the show, therefore, the idea of creating a spherical body in the shape of a planet became the core of the show’s set design – a first at Cirque du Soleil. Revolving around this new world that echoes Soda Stereo’s love for sci-fi, are satellites that move into the “standing room” area of the audience to create a feeling of proximity and total engagement in the constantly changing multimedia-intensive environment.
In addition to the normal seating in the stadium, an area is reserved for those SEP7IMO DIA spectators who opt for “standing room” tickets so they can move, groove and dance to the music. This configuration is another way of celebrating the proverbial connection that existed between Soda Stereo and its fans. (Soda Stereo’s massive concerts in their hometown of Buenos Aires were known to have fans jumping up and down in unison to the beat of the music, sweeping everybody up in what is now known as the legendary Soda Stereo audience wave. It was nothing short of exhilarating to watch this movement from the stands and bleachers.) Spectators in “the field” also get an up-close look at some of the action that unfolds right in the audience, such as when musicians gather round a campfire to play music, or when an acrobat performs a mesmerizing hand balancing act on top of a huge flower. The goal is to let the energy flow freely between the artists to the crowd, and vice versa.
The SEP7IMO DIA set contains acrobatic and décor elements inspired by Soda Stereo’s music videos and the lyrics of the songs, which die-hard fans will recognize.
• THE WHEELS OF CHILDHOOD — The three futuristic looking rings “orbiting” the planet are vessels symbolizing each of the band members’ boyhood days. These rings are equipped with LED screens along the outer side that tell the story of the three musicians. Early in the show, three umbrellas appear at the center of the large wheels. They are a direct evocation of the three luminous umbrellas on the “Me Veras Volver” album cover, which were also the core set element of the 2007 comeback tour. Through this evocation, it is implied that SEP7IMO DIA picks up where the band left off in 2007. The Childhood Wheels are more than 4 meters tall while the Signos Wheels, which are made of aluminum with a steel cradle, are 5 meters tall.
• THE INNER CORE — Using automated systems powered by four motors on a moving track, the planet also opens up to reveal its inner core. Artists perform on the circular stage, on the floor among the audience, and on the flat surface inside the planet’s core. The portion of the planet that opens up serves as a giant projection surface that becomes a sun or a moon depending on the storyline.
• GIANT MUSHROOMS — The vegetation on the Soda Stereo planet, which feeds on the vibrations of the music, comes in the form of giant mushrooms. The sculptures are skinned with a translucent drop that reveals the interior structure; the scrim doubles up as a projection surface. Translucent atmospheric cloud sculptures above the stage are also used for projections, combined with a giant, semicircle scrim.
PROJECTIONS – VISUALIZING THE WORLD
To echo Soda Stereo’s perpetual rejection of conformity, no “standard” screens are used in the show. All video-projections are delivered on unconventionally shaped and often whimsical surfaces that meld with the décor, whether they are circular, curved or translucent. Most video-projections that evoke the world of SEP7IMO DIA are based on a pictorial and abstract approach, replete with geometrical shapes and “optical art” effects. A great deal of the projected content is created using simple DIY techniques – a style that Soda Stereo was fond of – such as hand-painted images and effects.
(There are 14 high-performance video-projectors in the show delivering images taken from or inspired by Soda Stereo’s music videos and photo archives. A tracking system ensures that the projections move in sync with the set pieces on stage. The projection rate is 30 frames per second, and every frame has more than 29 million pixels.)
Cameras are used at certain times during the show to focus the audience’s attention on specific performances or characters. The footage is integrated stylistically into the décor or projected in real time on the various projection surfaces to propel the story along. Some visual effects combine live action on stage with images done in trompe-l’oeil. The final scene is a tribute to the fans of Soda Stereo and features archival footage of fans at concerts over the years, played back on the screens above the stage. And in a solemn moment during the PRIMAVERA CERO act, images of fans and of the band members are projected onto the main character using body mapping techniques. The montage was created with images that fans uploaded to the Cirque du Soleil site during the creative process. These images are full-body photos of the fans themselves.
COSTUMES – THE FABRIC OF SEP7IMO DIA
Soda Stereo was formed during a time of political strife in Argentina, and the band’s music brought freshness and vitality to teenagers, and appealed to their desire for freedom. Music often nourishes our inner world – a place where we can take refuge and imagine a better world. For costume designer Dominique Lemieux, the costumes of SEP7IMO DIA are woven from the threads of hope of this younger generation.
The world of the show is made of the vibrations and sounds that emanate from the music, like ripples in water, and these vibrations and sounds have made their way into the shapes and volumes of the costumes. For example, the characters Soda and Stereo have speakers jutting out of their stomachs, as if their whole bodies vibrate to the sound of the music. The colors, patterns and textures of the costumes seem like natural expressions of the music.
For Dominique, the provocative post-punk fashion styles of the 1980s are often associated with the notion of disguise. Soda Stereo established looks and weird new haircuts, drawing their inspiration from the underground scene in the UK and the rest of Europe. The costumes of SEP7IMO DIA, including the extravagant headdresses, reflect these experimental trends with an added elegance that also borrows from other periods.
The characters from the banquine act are called the Grisailles (Greys) and represent the younger generation that is taking its rightful place in society; they all dress the same except for a splash of color that sets them apart and highlights their uniqueness. The Eccentrics, including the characters Soda, Stereo and the Sun Lady, have totally embodied the music of Soda Stereo in the new world; Soda and Stereo’s costumes are extravagant and have soundwave patterns, as if they were the physical incarnation of the music.
Working with [Agostina to specify the name of person], Eugenia Palafox, Argentinian wigmaker, Dominique Lemieux designed headdresses using synthetic hair, vinyl and metallic appliqués that either reflect the post-punk fashion of the 1980s and 1990s or mimic sound vibrations.
THE CHARACTERS OF SEP7IMO DIA
L’Assoiffé – A young man in his late teens, L’Assoiffé (French for ‘Thirsty Man’), hungers for meaning and social justice. He dreams of a better world and longs for love, friendship and a genuine connection with others. He is an artist and a poet living in a world of oppression reminiscent of Argentina during the military dictatorship. He discovers music as a means of escaping the grim realities of life, but more importantly as a way to connect with others in a meaningful way. For him, music is a source of light, optimism and hope.
Soda and Stereo – These two are inhabitants of the world that L’Assoiffé has escaped to, and are there to guide him along. Soda and Stereo have speakers jutting out of their stomachs, as if their whole bodies vibrated to the sounds and music of Soda Stereo ready to be shared with the world. They embody the feminine and masculine sides of Soda Stereo’s music on this world.
Grisailles (Greys) – The Grisailles represent the younger generation resolvedly pushing for change. They are fashion conscious and all dress the same. But underneath their dark exterior, they each have their own vibrant colors and bold patterns that reflect their uniqueness and distinct personalities.
Lois in Space – This character is a tribute to Alfredo Lois, an old classmate of Gustavo and Zeta, who went on to become Soda Stereo’s video director as well as the band’s visual and stylistic guru. Lois Alfredo recorded most of Soda Stereo’s performances throughout their careers and chronicled the band’s life on and off stage. Lois in Space has a camera built into his head. He films some of the action on the SEP7IMO DIA stage, which is then projected overhead in real time.
Shadows of Childhood – The three characters called the Shadows of Childhood represent Charly, Zeta and Gustavo when they were kids and evoke their eternal youth. They first appear inside the Wheels of Childhood through archival images depicting their childhood days. The three wheels follow separate paths until they interconnect as a symbol of the formation of Soda Stereo. The Shadows of Childhood are L’Assoiffé’s guardian angels.
Dog Lady – This character is inspired by the illustration of a clothed Doberman that appears in the 1984 “Dietetico” music video. The Dog Lady has a Doberman’s head and wears a short fur coat and fashionista sunglasses. As curious as she is nosy, the coquettish and exuberant Dog Lady knows everything about everybody in the Soda Stereo world.
The Gardener – The Gardener is a wacky character who goes around with a watering can in his hand and has a mushroom sprouting from the top of his head. He presides over all plant life, which feed on the energy of the music. Instead of planting seeds, he sows vibrations and good intentions in the world of SEP7IMO DIA.
Coeur Brisé – A throwback to pre-democracy Argentina, this character embodies the nostalgia and loneliness of youth overdosing on television to escape reality. He carries on his shoulders all the sadness of freedom lost, of friendships that will never be. Corazón Roto’s encounter with the Dog Lady will make his sadness literally fly away.
Femme Solaire – This archetypal character is the ultimate femme fatale – beauty incarnate. She is connected to the music and brings light into the world of SEP7IMO DIA. L’Assoiffé, who has fallen passionately in love with the Femme Solaire, is transfixed by charm, pureness and integrity.
SEP7IMO DIA, SCENE BY SCENE
In a nod to the invisible triangle that Gustavo, Zeta and Charly formed on stage in which no one could penetrate, the spectators are symbolically invited within Soda Stereo’s inner circle, at the heart of the action, when the sacred triangle opens up to embrace the audience.
With video-projections evoking the explosive energy this act features a fast-paced, vitamin-laced rope skipping number with an upbeat 1980s rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Sometimes the skippers’ ropes turn blisteringly fast; at other times, they just seem to float or undulate in the air like sound waves.
This “aerial revolver” and missile number evokes passionate love and expresses the moment when a relationship spirals out of control. Borrowing from the discipline of aerial hoops and fixed trapeze, two “fugitives” spin on two three-meter-long revolvers. They then move into a single missile-shaped apparatus where they intertwine their bodies and spin in a vertical dance of unusual movements and lifts.
This act is based on the paradox between the fragility of a flower and the strength of the metal of which this giant specimen is made. A flower four meters in height made entirely of metal yet surprisingly fragile makes its way into the audience and opens its majestic petals to reveal an artist who performs a graceful hand balancing act on the pistils of the flower. In all her powerful energy, the beautiful temptress and her flower symbolize the driving force of rock and the fire of love.
SOBREDOSIS DE TV
This act is an evocation of the overdose of information resulting from the proliferation of TV channels and series during the 1980s. The character Corazón Roto, who evokes the nostalgia of pre-democracy Argentina, loses his sense of identity in a maelstrom of camera effects that recall the Orwellian slogan “Big Brother is watching you.”
The artist who plays L’Assoiffé performs a fluid diabolo act as he slides, juggles and tosses a spool high up in the air, literally dancing with his device. In a moment of introspection, surrounded by his guardian angel, the character explores his creative abilities and engages in dialogue with the planet and the universe to the sound of “Planeador” and the Brit-rock-tinged “Persiana Americana.”
This captivating acrobatic wheel number is a combination of rotating Russian cradle techniques with object manipulation skills. The catcher strapped between the gigantic wheels turns into a human trapeze, flipping and catching his partner in the air. This scene explores the bonds of brotherhood and the conflicts that sometimes arise in a friendship.
UN MILLON DE AÑOS LUZ
An artist creates a sand drawing in real time with her fingers and hands while the image is projected on a screen overhead. She tells the story of a man with a broken heart who escapes to a planet a million light years away from the origin of his pain.
CREMA DE ESTRELLAS
A group of artists perform a hallucinatory ballet of arms and legs, both real and make-believe, in an organized chaos that is half-choreography, half-manipulation.
Breathing new life into an old circus discipline, a solo artist representing the spirit of the Red Moon, all alone on the planet, performs a mesmerizing dance suspended only by her hair! This tableau is a nod to the iconic hairstyles that Soda Stereo were known for throughout their career.
HOMBRE AL AGUA
Man overboard! This act, which unfold inside a large aquarium more than 6 meters tall, is a metaphor for a songwriter who finds inspiration while in the midst of composing a new song. The water in which the free diving artist is submerged creates a womb-like feeling.
CIUDAD DE LA FURIA
An artist executes a rock-infused aerial chain act while two other artists perform a high-powered, street-based calisthenics number on a massive metal grill. This tableau is a direct reference to the iconic “En la ciudad de la furia” video.
TE PARA TRES
This tableau evokes a person who is no longer here among us. The artists around the campfire mourn a friend who is lost to this world. Soon they realize that sharing their sorrow creates new bonds.
A luminous blue ray of morning light is the symbol of life restored. Combining the disciplines of flying pole dancing, this sensual act is performed on a pole suspended up above the stage while another artist twirls a luminous baton in the air. In this fluorescent blue world, images of fans are projected in rapid-fire succession on a gigantic scrim above the stage using body mapping techniques.
DE MUSICA LIGERA
In this explosive finale that mixes the Italian acrobatic tradition of banquine with full-throttle tumbling techniques, the artists perform impressive sequences of acrobatics and human pyramids, hurling their partners high up in the air. The breathtaking finale extends from the Soda Stereo planet all the way out into the audience to the bouncy rhythm of the band’s power anthem “De música ligera.”
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And there you have it – Septimo Dia!