The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All

Overview

Creativity and innovation are widely recognized as essential to success in business and so many aspects of our lives. For over two decades, Cirque du Soleil has been a world-renowned laboratory of creativity, enthralling audiences by fusing dazzling acrobatics, staging, choreography, and music, along with beautiful costumes and technical effects, to inspire and create magical, almost otherworldly theatrical experiences. In The Spark, Cirque’s former President of Creative Content, Lyn Heward, invites readers ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Other Format)
  • All (3) from $74.50   
  • Used (3) from $74.50   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$74.50
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(267)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Very Good
Very good.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$90.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(35)

Condition: Good
Buy with Confidence. Excellent Customer Support. We ship from multiple US locations. No CD, DVD or Access Code Included.

Ships from: Fort Mill, SC

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
$119.49
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(267)

Condition: Like New
As new.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Creativity and innovation are widely recognized as essential to success in business and so many aspects of our lives. For over two decades, Cirque du Soleil has been a world-renowned laboratory of creativity, enthralling audiences by fusing dazzling acrobatics, staging, choreography, and music, along with beautiful costumes and technical effects, to inspire and create magical, almost otherworldly theatrical experiences. In The Spark, Cirque’s former President of Creative Content, Lyn Heward, invites readers inside the world and ideas of Cirque du Soleil through the story of an ordinary man searching for meaning in his work and life.

Like so many other people in their careers, sports agent Frank Castle has lost the passion he once had for his job. But a chance encounter with an inspiring Cirque du Soleil director takes him inside Cirque du Soleil to meet the artists, managers, designers, and technicians who create, shape, and perform in their acclaimed shows. As the story unfolds, the artists reveal surprising secrets about the sparks that ignite their creativity–from the pressure of deadlines and the exhilaration that comes from risking it all, to the chance encounters and everyday occurrences that have changed the way they live and work. As Frank comes to discover, every one of us is creative–wherever we work or whatever our job title is–but it’s up to us to tap into that powerful force.

As The Spark makes clear, there is no single formula for creative success–each of us must unlock the power of our imagination in our own way. An inspiring tale that draws on behind-the-scenes stories from the most creative people in entertainment as well as some out-of-this-world Cirque du Soleil magic, The Spark is an unparalleled guide on how to make creativity a part of everything you do.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An inspiring tale about the power of creativity and the imagination, from Cirque du Soleil, the amazing troupe of performers that “makes nearly every other form of entertainment seem timid, sullen, earthbound.”
Time
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739324516
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/11/2006
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.02 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lyn Heward is the former president and COO of Cirque du Soleil’s Creative Content Division and is currently acting as executive producer for a variety of projects.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Through the White Doors

If You Have No Idea What You’re Looking For . . .

When people ask where my remarkable journey began, I tell them it was somewhere between the first and seventh doors. At least, that’s where I found myself after I left behind the cacophony of the casino, with its blinking lights, rolling dice, and excite­ment around every corner. As fascinated as I was with the land of chance, I needed to give my senses a brief respite from the spinning wheels of fortune.

I was searching for something, though for what, I didn’t know. Something extraordinary. Something beyond the mundane world of marketing and money that had brought me to Las Vegas in the first place. Something beyond the grind that had become my life. Of course, if you have no idea what you’re looking for, it’s pretty hard to find it.

I was about to escape to my hotel room for a moment of tranquillity, when I saw two men dressed in black work outfits walking away from the slot machines toward a qui­eter part of the casino. It was in an almost dreamlike state that I followed them. They disappeared through a plain white door–perhaps the only portal in the casino that didn’t seem to announce what was on the other side. Intrigued, I pushed on it, and it opened, leading me into a completely silent, perfectly white corridor, lit so well it almost glowed with energy. A few feet in front of me was another door, just as pristine, every bit as beckoning. I opened it, though more tentatively than the first, for while I could surely pass off wandering through one wrong door as a mistake, opening the second seemed a more serious offense.

Behind the second white door was a third. Who were those men and where were they going? And what would I do when I found them? What kind of Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole adventure was I getting myself into? As I passed through the next door, I noticed a security camera above and a security desk to my left, and I felt my shoulders tense up. What were they trying to protect here? But there was not a soul in sight, so I kept going. By the time I reached the sixth door, I had accepted that I had no idea where the corridor was leading me–but I had the unmistakable sense that, as each door closed behind me, I was one step closer to what I was searching for.

As I pushed through the seventh door, I realized I had reached the end of the corridor and the beginning of my journey. The final door opened into a vast theatre. Rows of plush blue seats arced to my left. The ceiling soared a hun­dred feet above me, and I resisted the urge to call out and hear the sound of my voice echoing, if only to prove to myself that I wasn’t dreaming.

To my right was the strangest stage I’d ever encoun­tered. I watched as a mysterious monolithic structure, maybe forty by eighty feet, moved left and right, forward and back, and finally stood straight up and down, as if defying gravity. I couldn’t determine its purpose–surely it wasn’t part of the stage? You’d have to be Spiderman to scale such a precipice!

On the other side of the theatre, I could see the men who’d unwittingly led me through the doors. They were tinkering with equipment on the revolving column, which was perched precariously behind a stage floor that opened into a seemingly bottomless abyss. Though they were a good twenty yards away, I could hear their voices; the acoustics of the theatre were that crisp. I could detect several distinct accents among the half-dozen people around the stage–Scottish, Russian, Texan, and French Canadian.

They were so focused on their work that no one seemed to notice I was there. My curiosity was aroused in a way it hadn’t been since college, when every experience was a new adventure and I didn’t have to worry about the consequences of my actions the way I did now; my mind seemed alive to the possibilities my surroundings presented. I sat down in one of the theatre seats, in the middle of everything, and took it all in.

The enormous theatre was less a stage than a cavernous aviary, framed by huge catwalks constructed of aged wooden planks and copper railing, an intriguing contrast to the ultramodern style of the MGM Grand Hotel. It pos­sessed a timeless quality, as if I’d stepped foot in an edifice that had been built long before Las Vegas existed.

I might have sat there for ten or twenty minutes, just watching and listening.

Eventually, someone noticed me: a friendly-looking woman who seemed to appear out of nowhere–slender, middle-aged, with short, dark red hair and a stylish suede jacket. She made her way along a row of seats toward me. While I was no doubt somewhere I shouldn’t be, she seemed more curious about my presence than upset.

Normally, I would have apologized profusely for trespass­ing, and jumped up to leave. But something held me back.

“Hello, there,” she said when she was only a couple of rows away.

“Hello,” I said with a small nod. I assumed I was going to get kicked out; I didn’t see any point in attempting to fight it. But instead of asking me to leave, the woman offered her hand.

“I’m Diane,” she said.

“And I’m Frank,” I responded. She settled in a couple seats to my right, taking in the scene before us. Had she fallen into this alternative universe the same way I had?

“Pretty breathtaking, isn’t it?” she asked, gesturing out­ward with her hand.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” I said.

“I like to think of it as a theatre of unfulfilled dreams and great expectations.”

“I didn’t know quite how to respond to that. “It’s so quiet, despite its size.”

“Hmm,” she agreed. “It can be such a soothing, tranquil place during the day. But there’s a latent electricity in the air, too, don’t you think? Before the shows begin, I often feel a kinetic energy in the theatre, as if it were on the verge of exploding.”

No sooner had the words left her mouth than a fireball exploded above the pit in the middle of the stage; the smoke hovered for a few seconds before dissipating into the air.

“Just testing, Diane!” one of the men in black called out.

“What is this?” I asked. By this time I realized she belonged here, and I had certainly given myself away as an interloper. But my social graces had deserted me, leaving behind simply a sincere desire to learn more.

She laughed. “How did you get in here?”

I smiled, as I traced my steps back in my mind. This was no dream, I realized. I was undeniably, completely awake. “I was looking to escape a convention seminar,” I explained, “and started wandering through the casino. I saw those guys,” I pointed toward the riggers, “and I thought they seemed to know more about where they were going than I did, so I followed them.”

“Well, I admire your sense of adventure,” Diane said. “What kind of work do you do that brings you to Las Vegas?”

“I’m a sports agent,” I said, somewhat apologetically.

“You don’t sound overly thrilled about that.”

“At first I loved it. Working with the athletes–the tal­ent, as we call them–was exciting. I was jetting off to cities all over the country, searching for the next NBA all-star, NFL quarterback, baseball Hall of Famer.” I paused, then confessed, “But somewhere along the line, my work started feeling less like a calling and more like a plain old job.”

I was surprised at my candor. Why was I so willing to reveal my feelings to a stranger? I wondered. It was so unlike me–a man who made his living playing his cards close to his chest.

Diane nodded sympathetically. “Not many people seem excited by their jobs, do they?”

“No, I suppose not,” I said. Off the top of my head, I really couldn’t think of anyone I knew who was passionate about their work.

“What was your seminar about?”

“‘Marketing Creatively,’” I said, reciting the title. “But it really wasn’t about creativity. It was just about finding even more ways to make money through endorsements.” When had I become so cynical about my job? “So, what is the show you’re rehearsing? This theatre looks like a set for an Indiana Jones movie.”

“You’re serious?” Diane asked. “You really don’t know what the show is?”

I shook my head. Instead of appearing insulted, how­ever, Diane smiled, amused. I’m sure she was wondering who this stranger was who managed to slip through security and plop down in the middle of their theatre in the middle of the day. She shifted her shoulders toward me before speaking. “It’s a show called KÀ. Have you heard of Cirque du Soleil?”

“Of course!” I said, feeling the fuzzy grasp of my sur­roundings finally coming into focus. “I’ve seen your bill­boards all over Las Vegas. But I’ll be honest: I’m not really sure what you do.”

“Well,” Diane said, warming to the challenge of educat­ing me, fishing for an introductory speech she probably hadn’t had to give in years, “we’re a creative entertainment company; we develop shows built around the dreams, tal­ents, and passions of our artists and creators. Cirque was formed in Quebec in 1984, and we now have eleven shows around the world, four right here in Las Vegas.”

“Well, if this theatre is any indication of what you do on stage, I can only imagine what a show is like,” I said. “Do you have clowns, too?”

She laughed. “Yes, all that and clowns, too,” she said. “Look, I don’t think I can explain it all to you in five min­utes. And I have several meetings today. But I’ll tell you what: Why don’t you come to the first show tonight, at seven-thirty? If you’ll give me your business card, I can have a ticket waiting for you at the box office. You can see what Cirque du Soleil is for yourself.”

“That’d be great,” I said, standing up and handing her a card. “I really appreciate it.”

“Good. Then I’ll see you tonight,” she said. And with that, I gazed around the grand space one more time and took my leave.

. . . It’s Easy to Find It.

I returned to the seminar with renewed energy, but not for “Creative Marketing.” As another speaker started his pres­entation, my thoughts wandered back to what I had just seen. None of my colleagues seemed to suspect that while I might be sitting among them, an alert expression on my face, my mind had never truly left the KÀ theatre.
As we left the seminar, some of my colleagues began making calls for a quick nine holes of golf, while others dis­cussed dinner plans. But I declined all offers.

“Doesn’t sound like you, Frank,” Steve said with a grin. “You feel all right?”

Reluctant to divulge my secret, I simply said, “I’ve got a ticket to see a show tonight.”

“Which one?”

“The Cirque du Soleil show,” I answered. “KÀ, I think it’s called.”

“Those shows are booked solid for months,” Steve said. “How’d you swing that?!”

“I . . .” Hmm. How did I swing that? Why did Diane give me a ticket? Why didn’t she simply kick me out of the the­atre in the first place? When I saw the look on my col­leagues’ faces, it dawned on me how fortunate I was to have found those white doors and to have kept passing through them.

“Boys, if you know what you’re looking for,” I explained with false bravado, “it’s pretty easy to find it.”

The Invitation

The mysterious ambience of the darkened theatre, the crescendo of the music, the kaleidoscope of lights, the mesmerizing figures swirling on the stage had taken hold of my senses. I was no longer think­ing about where I was and what I was witnessing. I was simply experiencing it.

Every journey inward begins with technique, but it can only progress if you allow yourself to move beyond the mechanics and into the moment. A skilled masseuse may begin by working on your muscles, but if you allow your­self to surrender to her touch, she will do nothing less than send you sailing off to some tranquil island. A hypnotist, I understand, simply by controlling the timbre of his voice, can lull you into your subconscious until you’ve forgotten all about your guide, so lost are you in the layers of your dreams. And a storyteller, by mastering metaphor, can weave a tale that will change your life.

The tale I was watching unfold onstage was an epic about a young prince and princess–twins separated in childhood without knowing whether the other was still alive. In one scene set on a sinking royal vessel, the young princess is swept overboard after narrowly surviving an attack that claims the lives of most of her family members.

As I watched her silent, solitary descent into the cerulean sea that the set had become, I wasn’t thinking about how I’d gotten here–the convention seminar, the seven doors, the surprising generosity of Diane, who’d taken the empty seat next to me in the KÀ theatre just seconds before the show began. I was just watching, lis­tening, feeling.

The translucent curtain draped in front of the stage and the spinning dive of the acrobat created the unmis­takable sensation that I really was watching the princess plunge into a bottomless ocean. As she tumbled down­ward, my thoughts began their own descent as well, to Mike, my best friend who’d died the year before in a car accident.

Mike and I had swum together on our college team. I remember meeting him every morning at dawn, hours before practice began, just to get some extra laps in. When I think about the way I have to drag myself out of bed these days, I can’t believe I’m the same person who used to welcome daybreak workouts. Mike had a lot to do with it; he was the only person I knew who wanted to win as much as I did; sometimes it’s easier to let yourself down than to let down a teammate.

When I found out he had died, I thought about quitting my job. Mike was always saying life was too short to do something you didn’t feel passionate about. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. What if I couldn’t find anything else? What about the mortgage, the bills? And so, just a day after consoling Mike’s tearful wife at his funeral, I was back at my desk.

I couldn’t imagine KÀ had been scripted to stir up such memories, but oddly, that’s what it felt like. Each scene seemed to provoke a different memory or feeling. Were the other members of the audience affected in the same way?

When the royal siblings were finally reunited at the end, the crowd answered my question by jumping to its feet to give the cast a standing ovation. I was swept along with the others.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)