"O," a play on the French word for water, is a stunning aquatic masterpiece that explores a world of fantasy beyond your wildest imagination conveyed through the amazing performances of world class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, divers and an array of other characters in, on and around a 1.5-million gallon pool.
First, you’ll laugh at a silly spectacle of two clowns attempting to stay dry under the protection of a tattered umbrella as they weave their way through the audience with an oversized inner tube for a little pre-show entertainment. Once the clowns make their way backstage and the lights dim, you will suddenly find yourself surrendering into a fantastical world of wonderment as the show’s Comets (a group of the show’s characters) lures the audience’s imaginations and relaxing drum beats. As the red-robed and white-haired men make their way through the audience welcoming anticipation of the experience that is to come, an aerial artist delicately twirls from the center of the theater’s ceiling demanding the audience’s gaze upwards and signaling the beginning of the whimsical adventure that is to ensue.
With the lifting of the striking red curtain, the transformative aquatic stage is revealed. With the capability of being a solid stage as well as a full pool, the opening scene begins with a whimsical synchronized swimming act. In full-body suits that boast dazzling neon designs, the swimmers also double as acrobats as their act transitions from an aquatic dance to daring feats of strength and balance as they move their performance onto a floating stage piece.
This show, made up of 85 performers and 150 stage hands, contains greatly imaginative, yet seemingly impossible images and can be thought of as a living representation of a Salvador Dali or Vladimir Kush painting. The complex combination of infinitely flowing movement from the performers at all times during the show creates an ever-evolving work of art accented by lighting special effects and an innovative soundtrack performed by an ensemble of live musicians and singers.
A barge gracefully floats into center stage where a team of acrobats create innovative shapes and poses with their bodies. They are no longer human but pieces of a puzzle that mold together to create an infinite number of mystifying and beautiful images.
Apart from the performers, the stage is equally amazing in its transformation from a 25-foot pool of water into a flat surface in a matter of seconds. Elements of fire, water and air are explored as the set changes from an underwater spectacle to dry land where the audience is introduced to various scenes including one that resembles an African oasis.
As soon as one act is done taking your breath away, you are in awe at another incredible character defying your senses.
Among the water acts is a high-flying dive routine that incorporates three swings that become launching pads for divers as they gracefully skyrocket into the air before astounding the audience with flips and spins into the water below.
Descending from above, a ladder appears where world class high divers make their ascent to a 60-foot high platform. Instead of trying to make it into a wooden barrel like the traditional circus act, three divers jump all at the same time, each landing in a small sectioned area of the pool. It is a death defying stunt that has everyone holding their breath until they re-emerge to the pool's surface.
Floating into the scene are three contortionists that amaze and beguile the audience with their ability to morph their bodies into unthinkable positions. With extreme grace and fluidity, the artists bend, stack and weave their bodies into unthinkable postures and pyramids. Watching these three women perform is like watching that one person in yoga class who is just really freaking good at every pose… times 100.
Characters that enter in and out of scenes throughout the show include the young Sicilian boy, Philemon, whose journey is what the audience is experiencing; Eugine, the theatre’s guardian who symbolizes a sense of rebirth demonstrating the cycle of everything that is old becomes new again; The Comets who soar through the air on carousel horses and accompany characters as they make their entrances and exits; and, of course, the clowns of “O” who opened the show and are absolutely hilarious throughout.
With additional acts done by other characters such as The Zebras, Le Travesti and Aurora “O” is a simply enchanting experience that we feel is almost like traveling through the depths of a magical toy box within the trance of a uniquely fantastical dream.