Audience participation in Cirque du Soleil: O
March 22, 2010 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Cirque du Soleil: O - question about audience participation (spoilers inside)

I saw Cirque du Soleil: O at the Bellagio last week and was blown away. As I recall, there were three points in the show were "audience members" came onstage. At the very beginning a man is given a red scarf to take onstage and it becomes apparent pretty quickly that he is actually a crew member and part of the show. Later on two audience members were invited onstage to dance with the clowns, and it seems like they were genuinely from the viewing audience.

The third instance, however, wasn't so clear to me. Just before the high dive act an attractive woman in a headscarf and sunglasses chooses a man from the audience (in our case it seemed like the guy had just returned, drink in hand, from the bar). He is led to the stage where he is directed to follow the woman up a long rope ladder to the top of the diving platform. He is given a safety harness and seems to be really tentative about the climb. Up to that point I was sure that he was an actual audience member. Then they push him off the platform and he falls to the water below! At that point I though that he had to be part of the crew, but his acting before and after the incident still left a doubt in my mind. I'm about 90% sure that he was part of the crew, but I wanted to see if anyone knew for certain one way or another.
posted by sherlockt to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I seem to remember that the diving guy I saw also had just come back with a drink, now that you mention it.....
posted by Raymond Marble at 7:55 PM on March 22, 2010

There is a middle ground - someone from the audience could be pre-selected and even sign a waiver to participate. I recall that something like that happened to a friend. He and his girlfriend went to Blue Man Group and were pulled aside, asked to come in "late" to the show so the stage crew could do a little "bit" and heckle them. I think they even ended up on stage for a bit. Regular ticket holders, plucked from obscurity if just for the night.
posted by amanda at 9:10 PM on March 22, 2010

I wondered that same thing, but decided there's no possible way that guy isn't a cast member. That ladder is how high in the air -- my husband estimates 50 - 60 feet. And they push him off the top, backwards, seemingly without warning? There's no possible way that's a "regular" person. They wouldn't ever take that kind of liability risk. As my husband just said, "I'm glad you enjoyed the show, but please snap out of it." : )

However, that guy is a good actor, and I particularly enjoyed his hesitancy at even going up the ladder.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:11 PM on March 22, 2010

FWIW, BMG. I was with someone in the audience when they put the "scope" down their mouth. They did not consent, but all they did was show a "Pre-filmed" bit of a scope going down their mouth while pretending to put one down my friend's mouth. No one asked if he wanted to participate.
posted by 6:1 at 11:16 PM on March 22, 2010

The audience member picked for the ladder/high-dive routine is a plant, I think. The hesitation climbing the ladder, and the poor technique compared to the other cast members, is designed to make you think he's not versed in proper rope-ladder climbing (that is, climb from the outside edge, and reach up, not climbing it facing the ladder wholly).

I remember that after he emerges from the water, at some point, his dress shirt is removed to reveal an "O" t-shirt.
posted by herrdoktor at 11:34 PM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I was a child in the mid 70's, I remember going to Circus Circus and seeing a trapeze show where they "forced" a "random audience member" to climb the ladder and join the show. I was terrified for this person, but then at the top of the platform he took off his street clothes and revealed a costume matching the rest of the cast, and proceeded to fly with the greatest of ease with the rest of them. Although I was relieved, I was also a bit angry that my fragile young emotions had been so yanked around, and I never was really sure that it wasn't all just a weird coincidence that the person they picked just happened to be wearing that costume under his street clothes.
posted by gubenuj at 12:10 AM on March 23, 2010

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