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Staging Cirque du Soleil: The technology behind 'O'One of the longest-running shows in Las Vegas, "O" by Cirque du Soleil is a marvel of choreography and technical detail. But what goes into putting a show onstage when that stage is a 1.5-million gallon pool of water?
This is O, one of Cirque de Soleil's most spectacular shows set in, on, and above a 1.5 million gallon tank of water. If you think Cirque de Soleil is just about circus performance in weird makeup, think again. This is one of the most technical shows on the Las Vegas Bob Salyer has been working on Vegas shows for decades and it's his job to make sure everything works perfectly. It's changed tremendously in theater. Back in the old days, if you enrolled at a university you would be building your whole entire set out of wooden flats. Now you've got Got automation, you've got people who have to know welding, you have to know hydraulics, pneumatics, there's electronics. All of that starts with the high tech stage itself. Separated into four sections that move up and down, thanks to four massive [UNKNOWN]. The stage drops 17 [UNKNOWN] to reveal a huge pool. During the show, swimmers can spend as long as 90 seconds at a time below the surface. A labyrinth of hose's pump air underwater and every swimmer has their own regulator. With 14 safety divers underwater throughout the entire show. All the crew, expect the wardrobe department, are certified scuba divers. And no one misses a cue. Down here, the music is played through underwater speakers. Keeping everything in perfect time. But it's not just about what's going on down below. It wouldn't be a true cirque show without death defying feats on the high wire, and because this is Vegas, O takes it to a whole new level. High above the stage, a massive mechanical carousel suspends aerialists and trapeze artists above the water, while high divers plunge from 60 feet in the air into the water below. In the control booth, two automation consoles run the show to military precision, every element of the show can be controlled to the last inch. The [UNKNOWN] that swings above the stage, the aerial hoops, the hanging props. If one of the aerial Stop moving, then the crew here can isolate the problem and keep things running smoothly so the audience never knows. Just like a high-tech magic act, the wizardry here keeps what's really going on a mystery to O's audience. Think of it as the swan of the Vegas theater scene. Graceful on the surface but plenty going on underneath the water.