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The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

The "O" Theatre at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, home of "O" by Cirque du Soleil for more than 18 years.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
1
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

The "O" Theatre is built around a 1.5-million gallon pool that drops 17 feet below the rest of the stage. The theatre and the massive water tank were custom-built for Cirque during the construction of the Bellagio, before the casino's opening in 1998.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
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of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

"O" features spectacular synchronised swimming, high dives, acrobatics and aerials, all of which takes place in, around and above the 1.5-million gallon pool.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
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of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

Synchronised swimmers rehearse their routine in the afternoon, ahead of their nightly performance. There are two shows a night, five nights a week in the 1,800-seat theatre.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
4
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

There are 14 safety divers in the pool for the duration of every performance of "O." Two of these divers wear full face masks so they can speak to the control booth during the performance.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Cirque du Soleil
5
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

During parts of the show, performers need to stay under water for as long as 90 seconds at a time. Regulators allow swimmers to breathe underwater during the performance, and 24 underwater speakers allow the SCUBA-certified performers to hear music and cues.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
6
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

One of the "O" safety divers holds breathing regulators for the performers.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Cirque du Soleil
7
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

A giant umbrella, which serves as a boat in the "O" production, sits backstage.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
8
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

The 53 by 90 foot stage is segmented into four parts, controlled by sophisticated hydraulic lifts. The seven lifts can raise the stage from the floor of the pool, 17 feet below, to 18 inches above water level.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Cirque du Soleil
9
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

The hydraulic controls backstage.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
10
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

Stage level is just the beginning of the "O" performance. The show takes place from the depths of the 17-foot pool to 60 feet above the stage -- a team of four high-divers leaps from that height in every show.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
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of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

High above the stage, four divers prepare to leap into the water below.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Cirque du Soleil
12
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

Up in the lighting booth, crew control every element of the show, with a view of what's going on backstage on the screens above them.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
13
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

This massive rotating carousel in the scaffolding high above centre stage raises, lowers and rotates performers and props.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
14
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
15
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

A technician works high above the stage, more than 60 feet up, preparing for the night's show.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
16
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

Two hours before the show starts, the final props and set pieces are moved into place.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: James Martin/CNET
17
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

Performers wait for their cue beneath the water.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Cirque du Soleil
18
of 19

The custom built 'O' stage

Underwater

Rehearsal

Safety divers

Breathing underwater

Coming down for air

Props behind the scenes

Lifting the stage

Controlling the hydraulics

Up in the rafters

High divers

In control

The carousel

The lighting control booth

Working on the high grid

Setting the stage

Waiting for their cue

'O'

The final performance, featuring costumes by Dominique Lemieux.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Cirque du Soleil
19
of 19
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