We get the inside scoop on La Perle, the conceptual stage show that is thrilling Dubai
Staged at Al Habtoor City's custom-built theatre, La Perle is a show like no other. Masterminded by acclaimed theatre director Franco Dragone, La Perle's mysterious storyline, incredibly talented performers and one-of-a-kind stage concept is making major waves as the city's very first in-residence theatre show.
Broadway-trained performer Tara Young traded tap-dancing at Carnegie Hall and gigs with Liza Minnelli to rise through the backstage and production ranks, working around the world before being hand-selected as Resident Artistic Director of La Perle. Alongside Young, actor Reda Guerinik and contortionist Arthur Cadre give us a sneak peek into the inner workings of the custom-built theatre, and why they were drawn to headline in Dubai.
What can the audience expect?
Guerinik: An audience member that comes to a show like La Perle, they get to travel.
Young: Yes, they want to be transported to another place, outside their reality.
Guerinik: You're discovering a new culture, a new way of life. When you buy a ticket to see our performance, you really expect it to go somewhere else, and Franco Dragone (La Perle's Artistic Director) respects the effort that goes into an audience coming to see a show, the time spent. It's not just to impress or entertain but to also tell you a story with visual poetry.
Young: You could feel excited, sad, scared. You will feel an array of emotions, for sure. It's an emotional experience, a feast for the eyes. You will be satisfied and feel very full after a 90-minute Franco experience. People will be very curious about what they see – there's so much to look at and they will want to come back for more.
We hear the set is very unusual?
Young: There has never been a show like this in this part of the world, and some of the uniqueness is due to our immersive stage. The centre part of the stage is called the pit – it's literally a deep pit of water. The surrounding floor can be filled or drained with water within seconds. We will have performers diving into the water from a height of 25 metres, then above, we have them flying across the stage. We use every inch of the space given and fill it with movement. It's incredible to see, and the La Perle performers will be making the most of the unique set.
Guerinik: The stage is unique – you will have a 270-degree view of the performance, with just 14 rows of seats. There isn't a “bad” seat in the house.
What about the performers?
Young: There's a total of 61 artists, and they come from 23 countries. They've now been training together for seven months to prepare for their roles. We have cast-members that have never done a show before, and we have experienced professionals. Some of our younger performers from Cuba have never left their country before, and now they have moved to Dubai and it's been this fantastic worldly experience for them. Franco looks around the world for his talents, and he then hand-picks his performers specifically. He counts on people who are able to understand him, and understand his world.
Why have you chosen to join La Perle?
Young: I personally came because it's really exciting to build a show, and it's ground-breaking to do so in a region that has never seen anything like this before. We are the very first to do so. We are at the ground-floor here for a new entertainment experience, which is mind-blowing.
Guerinik: For my first show coming out of theatre school, I worked with Franco in Vegas on his Cirque du Soleil stage for three and a half years, then worked with him in Macau, and this is now my third show with Franco. I trust Franco's vision 100 per cent, and I joined La Perle because I know we will do incredible things here. The fun part about new shows is that you don't fall into complacency, you discover new things about yourself and you can explore new avenues.
Cadre: La Perle is a new challenge for me. If you always do the same thing, you get bored very fast. I'm learning so much from the rest of the cast, there are so many people with different talents and they are all happy to teach you. Every day, I'm trying something new.
How do you think Dubai will react to the arrival of La Perle?
Young: I feel that the show will have a huge impact on Dubai. I would love if this show could run for 20 or 30 years and we could create a school here for those who want to learn acting, acrobatics, dance, to create an entire performance infrastructure around La Perle. That would be incredible.
Cadre: Being in Dubai, we can show this part of the world things they have never seen before, in a show that is pushing the limits of entertainment, with so many disciplines involved. I think Dubai is going to love La Perle.
When: La Perle takes place twice a night, five days a week. Performances from Tuesday to Friday are at 7pm and 9:30pm, and Saturdays at 4pm and 7pm.
Tickets: From AED400
Contact: +971 4 437 0001