JanNelle Rivers, Cirque du Soleil, Las Vegas
By Ellen Florian Kratz

(FORTUNE Magazine) – IT'S MY JOB TO TAKE CARE OF THE PUPPETS FOR the Cirque du Soleil show KÀ. A lot of small repairs need to be made--things unravel and have to be sewn back together. I also make sure the mechanical parts work. And I take great pride in being able to preserve the integrity of what Michael Curry designs. I take care of two crabs, two sand bugs, a turtle, a snake, a scorpion, a stick bug, and a starfish. When I come to work, I go to Puppetland, where the puppets are stored overnight. Each has its own rack. I clean them from the night before; the beach puppets tend to get cork dust all over them. Then I move them to their starting positions. The riggers take care of some things for me. They load the 80-foot-long snake into the tree. The turtle weighs about 40 pounds. You put it on the way you put on a backpack. It has a separate set of pants, and the artist has to put them on first. I've been inside the turtle. It feels weird because you have that weight above your head. I do two shows a night and then put the puppets to bed. I feel very attached to them. I can't believe it's my job to maintain these beautiful works of art. -- Interview by Ellen Florian Kratz