Since the age of 4, Natick, Mass. native David Locke has devoted his life to gymnastics. He had been enchanted early on by the level of skill in Cirque du Soleil productions; his mother took him to see shows in Las Vegas when he was a teenager traveling for gymnastics competitions. After graduating from the College of William and Mary with a degree in kinesiology, Locke was thrilled when he joined Cirque du Soleil in 2009 for Viva Elvis. Now, he is performing in Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities, Cirque’s
traveling show that has come to entertain Boston May 26–July 10. While this is Locke’s first traveling show, it also stands out for him for another reason. “It will be nice to perform in my family’s backyard,” he says. “And the show itself is a great show, with a more intimate atmosphere than I am used to. […] I’m so much closer to the audience, so I can hear their individual reactions.”
There are sure to be gasps of astonishment, as each of Cirque du Soleil’s productions offers something different and surprising. What distinguishes writer and director Michel Laprise’s Kurios is its steampunk reinvention of the past. “It’s a lot of fun for the audience to watch because it’s like you’re peeking through a keyhole back in time,” says Locke. The cast of whimsical characters range from Mr. Microcosmos, a pot-bellied authority figure that embodies the technological energy of the industrial revolution, to the “Kurios” themselves, a troupe of endearingly dysfunctional robots. However, this “cabinet of curiosities” does not restrict itself to gears and goggles. Locke is a part of the radically new “Acro Net” act. Over a net that crosses the entire stage, Locke and other Acro Net performers create an undersea world where midair turns to ocean, as they seem to glide through space using trampoline techniques. “At any given time,” Locke explains, “four to six acrobats are on the net, pushing you to go higher and higher each time with every bound, so it’s a really dynamic, really cool act to watch.” This kind of net-trampoline performance is a new precedent for Cirque du Soleil—yet another reason among many to peek through that keyhole and explore Kurios.