Soak up the Universe of “O”
For those unfamiliar with this timeless performance, “O” tells the thrilling story of a young Sicilian boy, Philemon, who went out looking for adventure and marvels untold. To no one’s surprise, this is exactly what he stumbles upon, after entering a strange new world. This realm populated by a manifestation of his hopes, dreams, and fear engulfs him as he sets out to explore deeper, darker waters.
On this dream-like expedition, Philemon encounters the cast of this aquatic story as they perform multiple acts in front of the audience. Amongst these 77 characters, a young lady stands out and captures Philemon’s attention: Aurora. Is a love story about to unfold before your eyes?
Our colorful performers’ stories flow into one another’s, narrated by an enigmatic figure, known as Le Vieux, accompanying our main character on his way through the realm. Many mysteries lay deep beneath the waves of the pool: what else awaits the protagonist of “O”?
Water is a Main Character
Water is central to the continuity of this story, as a river follows its course. It’s clear how “O” is inspired by the infinity and the elegance of water's pure form. The focus on this graceful element is key to many performers’ acts and serves as the red thread between the characters. The ever-changing nature of water and its many properties proved it to be crucial to this production.
As the story progresses, water comes on and off the stage to mimic tides, pours down from the sky in a perfect storm and springs up in the air from the pool below. The water also contrasts greatly with the fiery and aerial acts sprinkled throughout the performance.
A Colossal Production Puzzle
“O” has amazed its audience consistently and this is thanks to relentless efforts to make this show run as seamlessly as possible and countless ameliorations since its launch. With moving parts weighing in at 900lbs, this masterwork of ingenuity and innovation has kept the crowd on their toes for 24 years now and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Ensuring continuity and transitions between acts, an elite team of 17 synchronized swimmers perform choreographies co-created by Debra Brown and the Olympic gold medalist Sylvie Fréchette.
But the pool is not the only place where tightly choreographed performances take place. High up in the air, our elite divers jump from 60 feet – higher than an Olympic diving board – into a 17 feet deep section below water.
This is no small feat but fear not: “O” features the largest contingent of Olympic Athletes of any of the Cirque du Soleil productions. Many of our performers have taken part in one or more Olympic Games before joining the show. Currently, we have gold, silver, and bronze medalist winners in the show. Safe to say they all know exactly what they’re doing!
Below the water are a team of 14 technicians and certified scuba divers who help move set pieces, aid in transitions between scenes, and supply oxygen to artists underwater as they wait for their cues to appear above the surface. They’ve mastered underwater communications and give a hand to artists during the performances and are a crucial element to the show.
What to Expect at the Show
First and foremost, if you’re lucky enough to be seated in the front rows of the theater, you can expect to get a little bit wet! Luckily for you, the theater hosts four different micro-climates, so the audience can enjoy a sensible 72 degrees ambient temperature.
It is also safe to expect and mind-blowing performance like you’ve never seen before! Years of practice really makes perfect, and everybody involved in the show works tirelessly to make sure you won’t forget your night.
Still looking for more insider secrets on “O”? To get the most out of your experience with the Interactive Program, look for QR codes outside the theater and learn even more about the show, the cast and crew, and Cirque du Soleil.
See part of the amazement for yourself in the video below: