WhenEiriniTornesakiwas accepted intoBerkleeSchool of Music at age 17, she knew making her way from her native Crete to the acclaimed college in Boston would be a struggle.
“Since I was 14 it was my dream to attend,” saysTornesaki, now 24. “I got a $20,000 scholarship, but my parents couldn’t afford it still — even to just fly me there.”
Tornesakihad to postpone her dream, but the gifted vocalist has still found her way to the Bay State: she hits Boston in Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities,” running under the Big Top at Suffolk Downs from May26thto July10th.
AndTornesaki stunning vocals are just one component of the show, a fusion of music, acrobatics, and comedy set amidst aSteampunkIndustrial Revolution. Audience members step inside the cabinet of a mad scientist working to invent new ways to travel to a parallel universe. Everyone from the band members and contortionists to the acrobats andyo-yomasters play a role in the scientist’s journey, which celebrates the greatest inventions of the19thcentury, simultaneously spun into a web of "Mad Max"-esquechaos.
“It’s really celebrating the era of all the great inventions,” saysTornesaki, who performs throughout the show with one of those inventions, a gramophone, propped on her head. “It’s when music became something you could hear in your living room.”
A cast of116 people from 22 different countries currently tour the U.S. with "Kurios," and that doesn’t count the various children and spouseswho join in. Some 65 trucks transport almost 2000 tons of equipment from city to city for the show, including three 50-foot trucks just for the artistic department to transport over a hundred intricately made costumes, eachspritzedwith vodka to maintain their crisp freshness.
But not everyone who follows Cirque across the country is a paid member of the cast and crew; some Cirque du Soleil fans are so dedicated, they follow the tour around the country like fans of the Grateful Dead. Some of them hope to find jobs amongst the crew, in roles ranging from costume maintenance to kitchen service.
“We have one girl whose sole job is to prep the mustaches in the show,” says one member of the costume department.
And as forTornesaki, finding her way intoBerkleehas finally come to fruition. She is studying songwriting through the college’s online program as she tours with Cirque, and managed to stop by the school this week to share her story of lifeon the road with her fellow students.
If you go:
"KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities"
May 26 to July 10
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Tickets start at $35,cirquedusoleil.com