Surprises await you at every turn as you transcend to another realm of the imagination at O by Cirque du Soleil.
First, you laugh at a silly spectacle of two clowns attempting to stay dry under an umbrella filled with holes as they weave their way through the audience before the show begins. Then you are immersed in the smell of spices as a man swings an incense container while several other peculiar looking characters scatter down the aisles through the seats toward the stage. Mystery, intrigue and anticipation hang in the air for the journey to begin.
Finally, the curtain opens revealing a whimsical scene where synchronized swimmers splash in perfect precision as a trapeze duo descends from the ceiling to their place above the watery world below.
"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.
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 can fit 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 also explored as the set changes from an underwater spectacle to dry land where a tribal dancer whirls two flaming batons.
As soon as one act is done taking your breath away, you are in awe at another incredible character defying your senses.
Three swings become the launching pad for divers as they gracefully skyrocket into the air before astounding the audience as they flip, spin and plummet to the water below.
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 from the pool's surface.
Contortionists amaze and beguile the audience in their ability to morph their bodies into unthinkable positions while gracefully floating on the water.
Soldiers on flying carousel horses, dancing sirens, a man sitting down to read his newspaper while engulfed in flames, and a bevy of other exquisite characters create a unique and enchanting experience at "O." Through the different scenes you will find yourself lost in a dream yet found in a world of fantasy and fun.
-- By Caroline Fontein