Kismet and good living, that’s all I can figure was how I ended up being friends with Jessica Berlin, social media publicist for the wonderful Cirque du Soleil performing troop in Las Vegas, Nevada. Well, social media helped, but I have very much enjoyed the time we’ve spent together talking about the online world, performing arts, and much more.
I have a bit of a background in stage productions, I’ve done lighting and sound for small, amateur productions, and I have certainly spent time on stage as an actor and professional speaker. But the scope of Cirque performances are staggering. In fact, while I was out in Las Vegas in January 2009 for CES I was invited to not only see “O”, the water-themed Cirque show (“O” as in “eau”, French for water), but to bring two good friends along for a behind-the-scenes tour led by the charming “O” publicist Ann Paladie. Fabulous!
This blog post is my photo album of what it looks like behind the curtain, adjacent to the main stage and pool, and a glimpse of what the performers are doing between shows to unwind and relax.
Before we delve into it, however, I asked Jessica to send me a tiny snippet of the production stage notes for “O” to get a sense of just how complex the show actually is. The sheet for just one stage transition is, by itself, quite complex, as you can see by grabbing the PDF document.
Important background info for reading those stage notes is that “the show is divided into 2 automations boards. One is called the tele board (short for telepherique – the steel structure over the pool) and it runs all the aerial automations. The other is called the deck board and runs the lifts and a few other automated features.” Those are the “T” and “D” in the stage notes document.
Okay, enough. Let’s get on to the photos. I will, by the way, post a review of the show itself shortly, but this is a lot of work, pulling this together!
It says: “Please be quiet!! Watch your volume during the show, keep unnecessary chatter and noise to a minimum” and ends with the rather Orwellian “Management thanks you for your cooperation”. Indeed. And the audience does too.
This is a small part of the backstage prop set. If you look closely, you should recognize a number of these props, including the A frame of one of the divers swings, used to astonishing effect in the latter portion of the show itself. One of the riggers is in the photo too, just walking out of the gloom. He was delighted to see us wandering around, I must say!
This is the second Cirque du Soleil show that I have enjoyed in Las Vegas (the first was The Beatles: LOVE) and I am more and more impressed with the performers and the stage production. It’s quite a team and having the chance to meet and get to know some of them has proven a wonderful experience for me.
December of 2009 they’re scheduled to open an Elvis-themed show in Las Vegas and I am eager to see it when I return too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this behind-the-scenes tour, and if you have questions about Cirque or the “O” show, please don’t hesitate to ask them here in the comments. If I can’t get an answer, I can certainly ask someone on the Cirque team to help out.