The show must go on is not just the law of Las Vegas, but anywhere there are performers and an audience. And the cast of Cirque du Soleil’s Kà have learned more about carrying on in the face of adversity—and tragedy—than most performers can imagine. On June 29, 2013, Sarah Guyard-Guillot died after a fall while performing in Kà. The production was briefly closed and then reopened, but with the final battle scene (in which her fall occurred) replaced by a film.
On December 12, Kà will return to battle with a modified version of the scene. “It’s integral to the story, the final scene of good vs. evil,” says Calum Pearson, vice president of Cirque du Soleil’s Resident Shows Division. He went on to explain that “no one thing” caused the accident, but rather “a chain of events.”
Cirque performer Marc-Antoine Picard was onstage during last year’s tragedy and now he is act captain for the new battle scene, a role he sought out. “It meant a lot to me to put the act together and bring it back to the show.”
The new version of the scene is still an exciting fight between the forces of light and darkness, played out on a vertical stage as though the audience is watching it from above. There have been changes in the rigging and backup computer systems added; the performers have slowed their speed and altered some movement.
What does Picard hope audiences take from the new scene when it premieres? “I hope they are happy. I hope they will be entertained,” he says, “That’s what I love to do.” It’s what all performers love to do and why the show must, finally, go on.