Austin Entertainment Weekly Editor Olin Meadows spent some time with Cirque Du Soleil featured performer, Mark Halasi. Halasi performs the role of Icarus, and performs a net act. Halasi is from Hungary and has been with Cirque Du Soleil for over 8 Years.
AEW: How much time does it take you to prepare for a show from start to curtain?
Mark Halas: If I don’t have any training or rehearsals I like to arrive 2 hours before the show starts. After arriving I usually check if there are any changes to the normal running order of the show, then I apply my make up (which usually takes about 40-45 minutes). I’ll then sometimes eat a few bites, put on my costume and warm up for about 45 minutes and I’m ready to go!
AEW: What is your process of getting into performance mode?
Mark Halas: It depends on the day. I usually choose the easiest way: I think of something inspiring and listen to music while I’m warming up. Sometimes I also have to focus on new things and changes in the show – if there are any.
Mark Halas: Well, I started when I was very young. I studied at the circus school in Budapest for 8 years. I then worked as an independent artist for 2 years before I joined “VAREKAI”. For the role of “Icarus” and my ‘Aerial Net Act’ I had to go to the Cirque du Soleil Head Quarters in Montreal for an intense 2 and a half months of training to learn everything (including my act, my character role, acting, movements, make-up, etc.)
AEW: What parts of your warm up routine are uniquely yours?
Mark Halas: I usually change my warm up routine day-by-day, depending on how I feel and what my body requires. I have some special stretching moves, which is what I use to improve the flexibility of my legs and my back.
AEW: Is there a certain type of music, food, drink what gets you in the zone?
Mark Halas: If I need to pump myself up so I usually listen to up-tempo (up-beat) songs. Since 2011, I’ve ‘fallen in love’ (so-to-speak) with Korean pop music, so I tend to listen to that a lot. I also drink coffee if I feel really tired or sleepy. And if it’s an “emergency” I drink energy drinks sometimes.
AEW: With a show as physically demanding as VAREKAI, how do your spend your day before the show?
Mark Halas: It really depends on how I feel. I like to just go for a walk and have some food and shop a little bit with friends, but there are days when I just want to stay in my hotel room and do things on my computer like watching videos or talking to my family on Skype.
Mark Halas: To have a routine and to do it consistently. For me it is very important to do my warm up routine every day before every show. That keeps me healthy and prevents me from injuries.
AEW: How long have you been with Cirque?
Mark Halas: I signed my contract in April 2006 and performed my first show in VAREKAI on June 22, 2006, so almost 8 years.
AEW: What cities have been your favorite on tour for sight seeing and touring?
Mark Halas: I love East-Asia, so I had a great time in Taipei [Taiwan] and Seoul [South Korea]. But I also have some great memories from Melbourne, London, Buenos Aires … It’s so hard to choose!