“O” Fun Facts
• “O” is a big family, some sort of home away from home for most of the 85 Performers who come from over 20 different countries.
• “O” features the largest contingent of Olympic Athletes of any of the Cirque du Soleil productions, with 9 of our performers having participated in one or more Olympic Games before joining the show.
• A group of 150 technicians is required to make “O” come to life. They come from many different areas but all have one thing in common: They are all scuba certified at various levels.
• There are 15 technicians underwater during the show, performing various tasks such as artist handling and props manipulation.
• The pool contains 1.5 million gallons of water tank that can be transformed into a dry stage in a manner of seconds. The water is kept at 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
• The underwater communication system features 26 speakers, which allow the performers to hear the music, as well as specific cues or instructions while underwater.
• There are 4 different microclimates in the showroom. The stage and pool are kept warm while the audience is maintained at 72 degrees. There are 2 additional distinct micro-climates in each of the musician’s booths. The unique climate-control system won several awards.
• Hanging 49 feet above the stage, the carousel and téléphérique (a conveyer system) carries tons of equipment as well as performers during the show.
• Most of the props that are used during the show are actually driven by the Performers who ride them. For instance, the carousel horses have a small propeller underneath their tails; they are controlled by a joystick located on the back of the horse.
• Each performer has an average of 5 different looks they wear on stage; there are 3 to 5 copies of each of the costume items. With 85 performers in the show, this adds to thousands of costume pieces, wigs, masks, headpieces, etc.
• The lifespan of some costume items is only 6 weeks.
• Costumes for “O” were designed by Dominique Lemieux and were produced in Montreal and Las Vegas. The costumes are now made in Montreal and fitted in Las Vegas.
• Each costume is tailored to the artist who will wear it. The costume department also created a plaster head of each artist to insure a proper fit and prevent their hats and wigs from falling during the performance.
• Around 1200 costume and headpieces are used in every performance.
• Some unusual materials are used in some of the “O” costume pieces, including shower curtain material and surgical tubing.
• Most of the show’s shoes are tailor made to each individual and painted to match the costumes.
• The many wigs used in the show are hand made; some are made of real hair.
• Some of the leotards act as a second skin and give the illusion that the performer is tattooed.
• The Cirque du Soleil make-up designer, who worked in collaboration with the artists themselves, created each make-up. The make-up has actually to reflect not only the character’s personality, but also to fit the facial features of the performer. Most of the artists had to try several make-up designs before the final one was approved.
• Each artist does his/her own make-up before the shows. This takes them from 20mn to 90mn.
• For their make-up, performers use special water-resistant products (more details can be obtained if needed). The make-up is surprisingly, fairly easy to remove!
• When new artists join the show, they spend one to two weeks working on their make-up with the show make-up artist. Once they feel comfortable doing it on their own, they start doing their make-up in their dressing rooms.
• Michel Crete’s design of the set for “O” includes seven hydraulic lifts that create a conventional stage or reshape the surface of the water. Each lift has a 100,000-pound weight capacity and move at twenty feet per minute. Each flooring panel is perforated with thousands of holes, which allow the water to pass through as the lifts go up and down.
• Referred to by “O” technicians as one of the technical marvels of our theatre, the overhead carousel is positioned 49 feet above the stage on the revolutionary “téléphérique” (overhead conveyer). The carousel is capable of moving up and downstage at three feet per second and at two rpms, in a circular motion. It has four lifting winches, each with a 1,000-pound capacity and the ability to operate at four feet per second. The téléphérique is the theatrical equivalent to a gantry crane with a unique and specific difference: with highly sophisticated computerized controls that perfectly synchronize all movements to create seamless changes and scenic pictures. It consists of six tracks with four independent winches each (for a total of 24) to transport performers, scenery and rigging.
• The lighting systems for “O” were tested and developed over a two-year period. Extensive lighting research was necessary because of the many obvious challenges the water element presented. Because water is highly reflective and actually filters different frequencies of light, experimentation with different lighting angles and colors was necessary.
• A total of 1,815 theatrical lighting instruments are capable of delivering over 4 million watts of light on stage. The system is also equipped with 230 color scrollers.
• The lighting installation for the Bellagio Theatre utilized 222,956 feet of cable which, laid end to end, would be 42 miles. Additionally, 11,761 connectors and 334,431 tie-wraps (cable-fastening devices) were needed to install and secure the cables.
• The music of “O” is played live every night. This is mostly due to the fact that the 8-musician/2 vocalist-band is “hidden” behind glass on each side of the stage.
• The musicians need to be in a climate-controlled environment, as many of their instruments are quite old and react easily to changes in temperature or humidity.
• The percussions are kept in a glass room to soften their volume, which would easily take over that of the other instruments in the show. The percussions’ sound is channeled through the show’s sound system. Same goes for the drums.
• Musicians and vocalists are linked to their Conductor (Jean-François Brissette) via earphones and can therefore take their cues directly from him.