Interview with Jim Bevan – Band Director of Cirque’s “Quidam”

Young Zoé is bored; her parents, distant and apathetic, ignore her. Her life has lost all meaning. Seeking to fill the void of her existence, she slides into an imaginary world—the world of Quidam — where she meets characters who encourage her to free her soul.

Quidam: a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past and swallowed by the crowd. It could be anyone, anybody.

I had the opportunity to talk with Quidam’s band director, Jim Bevan. Check out the interview below!

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1. First off, how did you get involved with this Cirque du Soleil and how long have you been working on “Quidam”?

In November of 2001, I was looking for a touring Conductor/Pianist gig, and I found an add on a website for a Cirque du Soleil Bandleader position, for the 2002 North American Tour of Quidam.

2. Have you been on the side of developing the music or have you mainly worked just with the actors/musicians on learning & polishing the music?

I’m not the composer and I wasn’t there at the beginning, but I’ve tweaked like crazy – changed music I didn’t like, wrote music for new acts or new parts of old acts where needed, and changed little things now and then just to keep it interesting for everybody. The music will always be developing.

3. What’s your favorite part about working on “Quidam”? Least favorite?

My favorite part is performing the show, the “real-time” coordination of the sound and the visual. There’s no one least favorite part – anything that keeps me from music can be annoying.

4. Does the show ever change from city to city while you are on tour, or is it officially set?

The show changes every time we perform it! Somebody always has something they’re going to do differently today – they tweak their acts as much as I tweak the music. The music and the acrobatics are so connected that a little change for them is almost always a little change for me.

Jim Bevan, Band Director of "Quidam"

5. Is the cast the same from city to city?

Pretty much – artists sign a one-year contract.

6. What instrument do you play in the band?

Keyboards, including “left-hand bass” (there’s no bassist in the band), and mandolin in one song.

7. How long have you been on the road so far? And, where do you call home?

I toured steadily for about ten years, came off the road for about twelve when my kids were teenagers, and I’ve been back out here since I joined Quidam in 2001. I’m from Toronto; I’m a Canadian, but “I’m going home” means to Huntingdon Valley PA, just outside Philadelphia.

8. How does working on a Cirque du Soleil show compare to working in musical theatre or in the concert settings?

I’ve never worked in musical theatre, but a big difference for me, between Quidam and a concert, is the size of the “front”. Doing a concert with, say, a singer as the frontman, there’s still an awareness of projecting some degree of the visual aspect of my performance, even if I’m not the main focal point. In Quidam, the “frontman” is this huge circus! Winking at someone in the audience is useless!

Show Schedule (March 24 – 27, 2011):
•  Thursday, March 24 at 7:30pm
•  Friday, March 25 at 3:30pm and 7:30pm
•  Saturday, March 26 at 3:30pm and 7:30pm
•  Sunday, March 27 at 1pm and 5pm

Ticket Prices
• Adults: From $40 to $115
• Children (12 & under): From $32 to $93
• Military, Seniors & Students: From $36 to $99

Website

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