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Entertainment & Arts

A Cirque du Soleil stunt motorcyclist crashed. What that means for the new ‘R.U.N’

A stunt motorcyclist performs a jump during “R.U.N.”
A stunt motorcyclist performs a jump during “R.U.N.”
(Matt Beard)

A stunt motorcyclist in the new Cirque du Soleil show “R.U.N” has been injured in an accident during the first performance of the new $63-million production at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas.

The rider, whose name was not released, crashed his motorcycle Thursday night during a jump in the “Level Up” scene, which takes place near the end of the show, Cirque officials said. The production, billed as a live-action thriller, was halted briefly to allow for medical staff to care for the cyclist.

“As always in the case of an accident, the artist will continue to be monitored by the show’s medical and coaching teams to determine when he can return to his activities,” Cirque officials said in a statement Friday.

Cirque officials, citing HIPAA laws that cover privacy of medical information, would not release details of injuries or the performer’s current condition. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the motorcyclist suffered a broken collarbone.

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Go behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil’s first show to forgo contortionists and clowns. Instead, think action-thriller. A graphic novel come to life.

“R.U.N” is Cirque’s first new show in Las Vegas since “Michael Jackson: One” opened in May 2013. The production marks a departure from Cirque’s traditional shows with trapeze artists, acrobats and clowns, instead featuring professional stunt drivers, martial arts experts, pyrotechnic performers and freak show artists. The show, set in the dark underbelly of Las Vegas and with a story line featuring rival gangs, is darker and grittier than other Cirque productions.

For the first time, Cirque decided to create a narrative for its show, hiring filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (“El Mariachi,” “Sin City”) to write a script and composer Tyler Bates (“300,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) to write the music.

In July, Cirque Chief Executive Daniel Lamarre said in an interview that the Montreal-based theatrical company spent two years developing the show. “We think that genre, meaning in the stunt genre, can become a category show for Cirque du Soleil. Who knows? Some day we might decide to tour a similar type of show.”

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Rob Bollinger, who oversees stunt and action performances with Jean Frénette, said in an interview last month that the cast of 40 includes six motorcyclists.

“We want to have two in the show at all times, so that’s why we went with the third to always, hopefully, have backup,” he said. “This way, it spreads the workload and makes it more realistic to do 10 shows a week for a long time.”

In the show, the motorcyclists perform jumps as high as 35 feet from 12-foot-tall ramps on the 180-foot stage. Cirque creators envisioned a fully immersive production, with much activity taking place in the audience.

A Cirque du Soleil performer crashes during a media preview for “R.U.N” in a Montreal rehearsal studio in June.
A Cirque du Soleil performer crashes during a media preview for “R.U.N” in a Montreal rehearsal studio in June.
(David Himbert)
An unidentified Cirque du Soleil performer crashed in June during a media preview for “R.U.N.,” the company’s new action thriller, in Montreal, where the show was developed in advance of its Las Vegas premiere. .
The unidentified Cirque du Soleil performer after he crashed during a June media preview for “R.U.N.”
(David Himbert)

During a summer press event in Montreal, one of the cyclists crashed while practicing jumps. Cirque officials quickly escorted visiting media out of the rehearsal studio. The extent of that performer’s injuries was not known, and it was not clear whether the performer injured in Las Vegas was the same as the one who crashed in Montreal.

“R.U.N” will continue in previews and officially opens Nov. 14.

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