Cirque Corner  


Cirque du Soleil Creations [ You are here: Grand Chapiteau | Creations | AQUA ]



The Creators
A Review



AQUA: One Drop

Water for all...

Inspired by the creativity of Cirque du Soleil and its long-standing social commitment, ONE DROP has developed an approach whose founding principle is the firm conviction that arts and culture can contribute to saving the world. At times through the theater, at time through the circus, music and poetry or multimedia, this approach can be used to inform, raise awareness and mobilize individuals and communities about water-related issues here and elsewhere by establishing a close relationship and by changing our way of seeing this extraordinary resource.

To spread this vision in developed countries, ONE DROP has created AQUA: a touring multi-sensory experience that takes people on a journey into the world of water. Configurable in either a square (75ft x 80ft x 15ft / 23m x 25m x 4.5m) or linear (50ft x 146ft x 15ft / 15.5m x 45m x 4.5m) configuration, this original creation aims to: Raise awareness of water-related issues and increase understanding of the scope of the problem; Inspire participants to get involved in the cause of "water for all"; and to inform every one of the urgency to act.

Premiere: May 15, 2009
Type: Exhibit | One Drop
Finale: February 26, 2012
Status: No Longer Touring


Montreal Science Center
May.15.2009 - Sep.07.2009

Musuem of Nature, Ottawa
May.22.2010 - Sep.06.2010

Museum of Civilization, Quebec
Oct.27.2010 - Apr.10.2011

Auckland Museum, New Zealand
Jun.24.2011 - Oct.25.2011

Maritime Museum, Sydney
Dec.03.2011, to Feb.26.2012


{ Return to Top }

    Diving into AQUA, participants – split into groups no larger than 60 – discover water over the course of a 30-minute journey divided into three distinct spaces (or "waves"). 360-degree projections, music, visual effects and water installations immerse them in an adventure in which they are both actor and spectator.

    First Wave

      The Fly team developed a 360° view in 3D, exclusively for AQUA, which puts the visitor at the center of the sensory experience. This new technology generates realistic 14-megapixel images for the ten HD projectors, with no distortion and perfect continuity. It really makes individuals feel as though they are at the core of a virtual event.
    Participants enter through a dark passage, immersing themselves in the world of water. A video projects waves made up of droplets and a curtain of water falls from the darkness above, all set to playful music mixed with children’s laughter and the sound of them playing in the water. Spectators are given a glowing water drop that accompanies them throughout the experience until they finally pass through the curtain of water, ending up in a vast circular space.

    Second Wave

      A sensor detects the movement of visitors and simultaneously reacts on the entire surface. Float4 Interactive, which developed the technology required for AQUA's interactive aspects, has created a unique immersive experience. "From a virtual water bottom, the interactivity involves individuals generating waves to splash their neighbors by moving their bodies!"
    An interactive audiovisual system takes participants on an emotional journey through the history of water on our planet. Dazzling 360° projections explain the essential role of water. The participants' movements influence the projections (if you move, or "take action", you can make a difference), which react in real time. Participants can splash one another and wipe a virtual fog-covered screen to display key AQUA messages, which chime with ONE DROP objectives.

    Third Wave

      AQUA's "water wall" uses 1,200 liters of water, which is recycled for each screening. The central basin, meanwhile, has a 300-litre capacity. Additionally, each of the illuminated drops provided in the first wave was programmed independently so as to create a unique experience for all participants.
    In another room, participants are shown shocking facts and calls to action that inspire a feeling of individual and collective responsibility, encouraging everyone to become an agent of change. Participants can then use an interactive terminal to commit to doing something to save water. They leave AQUA with a common objective: ensuring that all human beings have access to sufficient quantities of safe water, today and tomorrow.

{ Return to Top }

    The Creative Team

    Guy Laliberté			Artistic Guide
    Gilles Ste-Croix 		Artistic Guide
    Jean-François Bouchard 		Senior Creation Director
    Fernand Rainville		Adaptation and staging
    Marie-Claire Lagacé		Ideas and creative direction
    Ann Arson 			Original script
    Vincent Letellier (Freeworm)	Music (*)
    gsmprjct°			Set Design and Props
    Lightemotion			Lighting design
    TOXA 				Visual content
    Fly Studio 			Visual content
    FLOAT4 				Interactive effects
    Sid Lee				Commercial creativity

    NOTE (*): Vincent Letellier composed “A Journey into the World of Water” for AQUA: ONE DROP

    The Production Team

    Nicole Ollivier			Director of Awareness, ONE DROP
    Geneviève Barrière		Production Management
    gsmprjct°			Technical Direction, Set Design & Props
    Annie Chèvrefils		gsmprjct°
    Cheryl Catterall		gsmprjct°
    Alexandre Tougas		gsmprjct°
    Luc Desilets			gsmprjct°
    Eric Fauque			gsmprjct°
    François David			gsmprjct°
    Benoit Giguère			gsmprjct°
    Karine Chartrand		gsmprjct°
    Brendan Forgathy		gsmprjct°
    LysianeRoch			Advisor, Water, ONE DROP
    Alain Vinet			Advisor, Musical Direction
    Annie Peyton			Senior Stage Manager
    Robert Vézina			Stage Manager
    Frank Dufault			Coordinator, video, Cirque du Soleil
    Solotech			Programming and installation
    Luc Côté			Filmmaker
    Pierre Gill			Cinematographer

{ Return to Top }

    From May 15, 2009 through September 7, 2009, the Montreal Science Center hosted the world premiere of AQUA, an exhibit developed by the ONE DROP initiative founded by Guy Laliberte to raise awareness of the global water crisis. Fan and friend Gena Colton had the chance to preview the exhibit while attending the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s OVO. What sheexpected was a typical IMAX film about how we take water for granted, how we waste or destroy our natural resources, and a sermon about conservation and saving the planet. What she experienced instead was "a beautiful, thought-provoking, interactive demonstration of how unevenly water is distributed throughout the world and how we need to take care of what we have, decide to take action to preserve it, and help those who do not have access to a sufficient quantity and quality of water."

    To begin, a small group of people are guided into a rather dark room. To my left is a display of blue illuminated orbs shaped like giant water droplets, ahead of me is a big screen, and to the right is a "wall" of water, sheeting down. This wall of water is more than it seems, however. There are different pictures and shadows projected on it. I loved that we had to stand - not sit and be entertained. There was prerecorded narration, music, sound, light and of course, water effects. No one told us what to do, but a guide silently demonstrated what we could do - if we chose. We had to choose for ourselves to take action (interact with the screen) - or not.

    As the scene progresses, the guide silently gave each person a giant blue illuminated water drop to hold. The water wall parts, then and we are guided through it to a big round space – 360-degrees of floor-to-ceiling projection screen. We surround an old-style hand pump that’s affixed in the center of the room, which starts pumping water as soon as we settle in. The 360° screen comes to life as well - scenes of fresh water abound. We can actually interact with the water flow! We affect its flow by using our water drops to move the water around. This shows us that if we take action we can make a difference!

    But this exhibit isn’t just about the idyllic conditions we’d find coming out of our own faucets, it's also about places in the world where the water is so polluted the inhabitants have no choice but to drink brown, foul smelling (and tasting) water. Therefore, the serene fresh water scenes become polluted, and unsanitary, as we shift to represent conditions found in many over-industrialized and 3rd world countries. At this point everyone's hand-held blue water drop extinguishes. A scene of barren land is on the 360° screen. The water pump stops pumping water, but the handle continues to squeak. Over the horizon, the shadows of 5 children appear and move closer - until the shadows are standing right in front of us. The scene is dire... but there's no water! The narrator tells us that every 8 seconds a child dies of dehydration. The looming sound of a ticking clock is heard. Every 8 seconds, a child shadow disintegrates... 40 seconds. Silence.

    Our hand-held water drops start to flicker on as scenes of relief and hope appear. The well starts pumping water again. The guide leads us to place our blue-again water drops into the pool surrounding the pump as a pledge to become more aware of our use of water and how it affects others.As we leave the 360° room, there are quotes about water from children around the world. The one I remember said something like, "I hear there are places in the world where you turn a handle and water comes out."We are then lead through a dark hall where there are little horizontal computer touch screens for everyone to go to - if they want. Every time the screen is touched, it sends water ripples - even when typing in your name.

    The AQUA experience was unexpectedly entertaining as well as educational, and inspiring. Afterward, she sat on a bench for about a half hour just to absorb what she'd experienced - seriously.

Cirque Corner