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O is a water-themed resident Cirque du Soleil production written and directed by Franco Dragone. It is the tenth Cirque du Soleil production since 1984 and second resident show in Las Vegas, NV after Mystere. O is inspired by the "infinity and the elegance of water's pure form" and pays homage to the magic of theater.[1] It's title being a phonetic word play on the French word "eau" meaning "water". O premiered on October 19, 1998 at The Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

History[]

As of early 2011, O has made over a billion dollars since it's opening in 1998.[2]

O had it's 8000 performance on July 20, 2015.[3]

At the beginning of January 2020, O will be performing 7 days a week. To accommodate the new performance schedule, O has hired 85 additional cast and crew.[4][5]

Set & Technical Information[]

OStage.jpg

The Stage and Theater[]

The O theater is designed to like an old European Opera house.[6] The stage is 140 ft by 80 ft. with a pool that is 17 ft. (5.18 m.) deep. The pool holding up to 1.5 million gallons (5,678,117.6 lt.) of water.[7] The pool temperature is kept at 84°F (28°C) while the seating is kept at 72°F (22°C) through a special ventilation system bringing cool air underneath each seat at 55°F (12.7°C).[8]

The stage floor is made from mondo with approximately 5,000 holes in each 4' x 8' panel for water to go through.[8] The stage is divided into four parts that move by scissor lifts. Each of the scissor lifts can ascend and descend to the bottom of the pool.[9]

Underwater and Safety[]

The music of the show is can be heard underwater through 21 underwater speakers named "the Neptune System" so performers and crew can keep time with the show.[10] Two divers wear full face mask underwater to keep communication with the lighting booth at the top of the theater.[7]

There are 75 performers and 122 technicians in the show. During the performance, swimmers can spend up to 90 seconds under water and every swimmer has their own regulator. There are 15 safety divers underwater. All crew members and cast except the wardrobe department are certified scuba divers.[7]

The Carousel and the Rigging Equipment[]

55 ft. above the pool, O has a rigging conveyor system known as The Carousel. The Carousel weighs 18 tons and can spin up to 180 in. a minute and is designed to provide vertical, horizontal, and rotating movement over the pool. each of it's four winches that carries The Carousel can carry up to 1000 lbs of equipment at the speed of 240 in. per minute. The Carousel contains 41 scenery-related winches designed to move scenic and lighting elements.[8]

The Sound and Lighting Booth[]

The show has two automation consoles in the lighting booth. The the lighting cues, the rotating mechanical carousel, and the stage platforms are all controlled to precise procision in the control booth.[7]

Props and Equipment[]

  • Each carousel horse weighs up to 900 lbs.[11]
  • The clown house weighs up to 7000 lbs.[12]

Characters[]

  • Philemon (Guifà): Chosen by The Ballerina to enter the world of O, Philemon is young Sicilian boy who tries to return Aurora's kerchief.
  • Le Vieux (Eugen): The guide and theater manager to the world of O. Le Vieux He embodies the cyclical part of life where everything old becomes new again.[1] Originally portrayed by Eugen Brim.
  • Aurora: A character who catches the interest of Philemon. She descends down from the ceiling of the theater at the beginning of the show.
  • The Barrel Organ Grinder (Strong Man): Guardian of the world of O, he is a strong man who is a gentle giant. He carries and plays a Barrel Organ.
  • Le Travesti (The Transvestite): Wearing the clothes of a wicked woman, Le Travesti coos, hisses, and murmurs. Their primal cries can be heard throughout the theater.[1] They perform during the Fan Dance Interlude.
  • The Masked Thief (Le Voleur): A character with many faces, The Masked Thief plays with fire. he performs during the Fire Manipulation Act.
  • L'Allumé (The Burning Man): A pyromaniac who enjoys pleasing the crowd. He is a character who is unaware that he is on fire.
  • The Waiter: A rubber man who dances.
  • The Zebras: Playful throughout the show, the Zebras perform during the Cadre Act.
  • The Comets: Servants to the world of O.
  • The Mermaids: The watchers of the mystical waters. Represents the malevolent side of the water.
  • The Bikers : A group of energetic characters performing the aerial hoop act.number
  • Petite Danseuse (The Gypsy): A dancer who
  • La Mariée (The Bride): Lost or abandoned, the bride is searching for something. She is the singer of O.
  • The Clowns: Two clowns finding their place in the world.
    • Leonid and Valery: (2001 - Present) Originally portrayed by Leonid Leykin and Valery Keft.
    • Dima and Iryna: (1998 - 2001) Originally portrayed by Dimitri Bogatirev and Iryna Ivanytska of AGA-BOOM.

Les Personnages du théâtre (Les Nus): Various characters that are "spirits" or memories of the O theater. These characters come from many different theater plays. These plays include: The Three-Penny Opera, Mother Courage, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, La Grosse Femme, The Lady With a Dog, Cowboy, Six Characters in Search of an Author, The Bald Soprano, and many others.[13]

  • The Astronaut: A person dressed as an Astronaut at the end of the Russian Swing transition. Their helmet is made from a Water Cooler Jug.
  • The Ballerina: A woman wearing a golden ballerina outfit.
  • The Blind Man: A character wearing a howie lab coat with a large mandarin collar, a pair of round blind glasses, and has a walking cane.
  • The Boxer: A man wearing a very tall yellow head wrap with a pair of yellow boxing gloves.
  • The Burqa: A woman wearing a blue burqa.
  • The Chicken: A woman wearing a large yellow and red feathered boa and a small green top hat.
  • The Crochet Veil: A woman wearing a long crochet veil headscarf.
  • The Cowboy: A man wearing a sombrero hat.
  • The Dancers: Two women wearing white tutus with multicolored tulles.
  • The Dirty Old Man: A character with a long shaggy white beard and moustache, and a black derby hat.
  • The Donkey: A character wearing a donkey mask.
  • The Drummer: A character wearing a bearskin hat and carrying a drum.
  • The Elizabethan: A woman wearing a Elizabethan-style dress. Her dress is seen at the beginning of the show hanging over the stage.
  • The Funeral Bird (Nightmare): A character wearing a hooded tunic and a plague doctor mask.
  • La Grosse Femme: A woman with a large red bosom.
  • The Gypsies: Two men wearing orange pants and wearing gypsy head scarves.
  • The Hotel Maid: A maid who picks up the performers outfits during the Russian Swing act.
  • The Indian: A woman wearing blue traditional Indian clothing with a jewel bindi on her forehead.
  • The Lady: A woman wearing headscarf and wearing sunglasses. She also wears a large sunhat during the High Dive Act.
  • The Lover: A man wearing a pork pie hat, green jacket, and carrying a bouquet of flowers.
  • Moonhead: A character wearing a large blue crescent mask. The mask's face has a large nose and uneven prominent cheeks.
  • Napoleon: A character with a large blue bicorne hat.
  • The Noble: A man wearing a bycocket hat.
  • Nucleaire: A character wearing a radiation suit and a gas mask.
  • Skinned: A character wearing a similar costume to the costumes from the Bateau Act. The character appears as a flayed man with green flesh with gashes of red flesh.
  • The Red Woman: A woman wearing a red dress.
  • The Tamer: A child-like character wearing green outfit and carrying a whip.
  • The Vermicelli: A character that sings during the Barge Act.[14]
  • The Water Lily: A woman wearing a pink water lily flower with multicolored rhizomes.
  • The White Twins: Two Pierrot clowns wearing long pointed white hats with ruffs.

Acts[]

  • Opening: An audience member (Philemon) is chosen by The Ballerina to read the show's emergency procedures and what not to do during the performance.
  • Nage (Synchronized Swimming): A group of swimmers perform a synchronized swimming routine as Philemon is dropped into the world of O.
  • Fixed Trapeze Duo: Two aerialists perform a fixed trapeze act as The Comets circle them on carousel horses.
  • Barge (Banquine / Adagio): A combination of banquine and adagio, a group of performers perform various acrobatic stunts and diving jumps on a barge.
  • Interlude (Parade): A group of characters participate in a parade before the clown act.
  • Clown Act - Sleep: Leonid tries to fall asleep and ask Valery for help.
  • Interlude (Africa): Le Vieux and Aurora appear as silhouettes in an African setting.
  • Bateau (Aerial Cradle /Parallel Bars): A group of acrobats perform on a swinging giant ship above water. The giant ship contains two Aerial Cradles and has parallel bars in the middle.
  • Interlude (Tzelma): The cast of O comes out on stage and performs a coordinated dance.
  • Interlude (Le Travesti): Le Travesti comes out on stage to perform a fan dance.
  • Fire Manipulation / Fire Knife Dance: The Mask Thief gives a fire performance with fire twirling. Two Fire Knife Dancers come out on stage and perform a fire dance.
  • Russian Swing: A group of performs use Russian Swings to perform various aerial diving tricks.
  • Clown Act - Dance: Leonid and Valery dance with two audience members.
  • Interlude (Flying Man): The comets come out on stage and perform a flying man routine.
  • Cadre (Aerial Frame): The Zebras perform on an Aerial Frame during a rainstorm.
  • High Dive: A group of divers into the stage from a very high platform while an audience member is chosen to dive with them.
  • Washington Trapeze: Aurora performs on a Washington Trapeze.
  • Contortion: Four women demonstrate their flexibility on a small barge.
  • Cerceaux A group of performers perform aerial acts on hoops.
  • Finale: The cast of O watches Le Vieux and Aurora submerge underwater as Le Vieux plays a water resistant piano. Philemon and Aurora unite in the end.

  • Trapeze Solo: A acrobat performs a trapeze solo. This act can replace the Trapeze Duo Act or the Washington Trapeze Act

  • Clown Act - Iceberg: Dima and Iryna are stuck on an iceberg (1998-2001)
  • Clown Act - Land Ho!: Dima and Iryna play with an audience member (1998-2001)

  • Costumes[]

    Costume designer Dominique Lemieux drew inspiration from 15th to 20th centuries while specifying in Venetian styles.[8] Full body measures are taken from each artists and specifically made to fit the body of the performer.[15] For headgear, wigs, and headpieces in O, each performer has a mold of their head for custom fitting. There are over 4,800 costume pieces used in O.[16]

    The performers have 5 different looks they wear throughout the show. Each costume has a duplicate and can have up to 10 replicas.[16] L'Allumé (The Burning Man) is made from kevlar and weighs 41 lbs. It's lifespan last 7 to 9 weeks.[15] 60 loads of laundry are done per night.[16]

    Music[]

    The music score for O was composed by Benoit Jutras. It is a mix of classical Western instruments and world instruments. These include the Chinese erhu, bagpipes, a tiple, African koras, and various English and French reeds.[8]

    The live performance during the show is played by a 10 piece orchestra.[7] To minimize damage to the instruments, the musicians are enclosed in a glass enclosures on both sides of the theater.

    For more information on the songs featured in O, please visit O (Soundtrack).

    Filmography and Literature[]

    Flow (A Tribute to the Artists of "O") is a 2007 documentary film providing technical information on equipment used during the show.

    A live performance of O was recorded for ARTE Concert for France and Germany. A livestream of the recording was shown on the ARTE Concert website.[17]

    Six of the acts in O appear in the Cirque du Soleil film Cirque du Soleil: World's Away. The following acts that were used are Nage (Synchronized Swimming), Bateau, Fire Manipulation / Fire Knife Dance, Contortion, and Cerceaux.

    Awards[]

    O has received the Entertainment Design Award for "best show production" in 1998.[18]

    O won Las Vegas Review-Journal's Best Production Show from 1999 to 2006.[18]

    O won the THEA award in the live show category in 1999.[19]

    The documentary Flow won a Prix Italia for "creativity in high definition" in 2009.[20]

    In Popular Culture[]

    • The O theater was host to two One Drop Foundation's One Night for One Drop events in 2013 and in 2019.

    Gallery[]

    Promotional

    Theater & Stage

    Characters

    Performance

    Behind the Scenes

    Videos[]

    Trailers

    Behind the Scenes

    Advertisements

    References[]

    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "O". Retrieved from https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/press/kits/shows/o
    2. Reid, C. S. and C. (2011, October 23). Cirque du Soleil swings to $1bn revenue as it mulls shows at O2. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/cirque-du-soleil-swings-to-1bn-revenue-as-it-mulls-shows-at-o2-2191850.html
    3. Vegas News. 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
    4. Desk, B. W. W. N. (2019, July 31). O By Cirque Du Soleil Extends Performance Schedule To Seven Nights A Week. Retrieved from https://www.broadwayworld.com/las-vegas/article/O-By-Cirque-Du-Soleil-Extends-Performance-Schedule-To-Seven-Nights-A-Week-20190731
    5. Pugh, J. (2019, August 13). 'O' by Cirque Du Soleil Extends Performances to Seven Nights a Week. Retrieved from https://www.bestofvegas.com/articles/o-cirque-du-soleil-extends-performances-seven-nights-week/
    6. O Bellagio - Theater Production: O by Cirque du Soleil Bellagio. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bellagio.mgmresorts.com/en/entertainment/o-by-cirque-du-soleil.html
    7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Reilly, C. (2017, March 16). Underwater magic: Hidden tech behind Cirque du Soleil's 'O'. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/news/cirque-du-soleil-las-vegas-o-bellagio-underwater-magic-tech/
    8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 (n.d.). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20060221060923/http://livedesignonline.com/mag/show_business_wizardry_cirque_du/
    9. CNET. (2017, March 16). Staging Cirque du Soleil: The technology behind 'O'. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD5uzkRi-HU
    10. Vegas, B. L. (2011, April 08). Catch "O" behind the scenes! Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhvYbWg3-iQ
    11. "O" by Cirque du Soleil. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/Ocirque/posts/10150286966034417
    12. "O" by Cirque du Soleil. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/Ocirque/posts/10150287709319417
    13. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20010405000831/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/piste/index.html
    14. O. Retrieved from https://lasvegassun.com/photos/galleries/2008/dec/08/o/8332/
    15. 15.0 15.1 Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas: How "O" Works Behind the Scenes. (2019, July 05). Retrieved from https://www.visitlasvegas.com/experience/post/cirque-du-soleil-o-behind-the-scenes/
    16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Keeping up with the clothes at "O". (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blog.vegas.com/las-vegas-shows/keeping-up-with-the-clothes-at-o-64586/
    17. LIVE SHOW RECORDING. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/Ocirque/videos/live-show-recording/10155940778549417/
    18. 18.0 18.1 O Bellagio - Theater Production: O by Cirque du Soleil Bellagio. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bellagio.mgmresorts.com/en/entertainment/o-by-cirque-du-soleil.html
    19. Past Thea Award recipients: 1994-2018. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.teaconnect.org/Blog/Thea-Blog/index.cfm?id=2261&redirect=y
    20. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20110727185143/http://mediagallery.prixitalia.org/Winners.aspx

    External Links[]

    Official Site

    Bellagio's Official Site

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