LAS VEGAS--"Love," Cirque du Soleil's successful celebration of The Beatles, is five years old this month.
Now that the show has reached this milestone, Cirque du Soleil is willing to unveil more of its secrets. Last week, Tom Wegis, technical director for "Love," served up an all-access, stat-soaked, guided tour of the show's backstage world now it's had five years to settle and grow into its surroundings. "Love" is the only Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show performed in the round, and the three-level theater seats 2,013 visitors, all within 98 feet of the stage. The space has four control booths positioned in four separate corners (controlling lighting, projection, stage management, and automation, respectively). A total of 276 separate production cues flow back and forth between the booths as the show comes together.
Four automated tracks built into the stage carry artists and smaller stage pieces out into the show. The theater has 10 12,000-lumen projectors for each of two 2,000-square-foot panoramic screens wrapping around the space. Four 832-square-foot semi-transparent screens move in and out of the space, thanks to eight motors. They're illuminated by four 16,000-lumen projectors offering images of The Beatles and their music.
The most impressive machinery powering "Love" from behind the scenes resides under the stage. Nine stage lifts raise and lower artists and set elements in and out of the performance space. The largest motor-driven rack-and-pinion lift raises a center stage segment weighing about 22,000 pounds. Engineers dug 32 feet down into the desert ground to install it; it provides a force of 150 pounds per square foot and can raise the huge stage at a speed of a foot per second.
All Cirque productions stress that the safety of the artists and crew is the primary concern. To that end, the larger set elements are monitored by a specially designed encoder system that confirms that the moving piece is precisely where it needs to be when it needs to be there. If anything onstage strays by so much as millimeters, the movement cuts out and the show stops. … Read more