Meticulously applying the layers of makeup needed to pull-off the eye-popping look of Cirque du Soleil's upcoming show, "Toruk:The First Flight," takes about an hour. Surprisingly, each of the 40-some characters applies the makeup themselves.Getting rid of the makeup is much easier – about 10 minutes to be exact – something we tested when we had Cirque wardrobe assistant and Twin Cities native Ali Schwalbe transform Star Tribune intern Mary Kate Metivier into Na'vi from "Avatar.""Toruk" is inspired by James Cameron's "Avatar" and will be at Target Center in Minneapolis for a limited run from Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

Narrated by a "Na'vi Storyteller" and populated by unforgettable characters, "Toruk" is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film "Avatar," and before humans set foot on Pandora.

The show is something of a departure for Cirque, blending the signature style of the circus with lights, puppets and multimedia elements directed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. In the show, some video effects are synchronized with performers' movements and others overflow into the audience.

And our intern? She loved the temporary transformation, saying: "The makeup didn't feel very heavy, so I felt like I really was a Na'vi. I wish I were blue more often to be honest."