Wynn Las Vegas Magazine by MODERN LUXURY

Wynn - 2011 - Issue 2 - Fall

Wynn Magazine - Las Vegas

Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/39920

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Page 119 of 123

PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOMASZ ROSSA BACK STORY performers as falling leaves Le Rêve Exploring the underwater DIVER'S DREAM realm of Le Rêve BY MATT KELEMEN " W 118 WYNN hen we enter the tun- nel, stay to the left," says Rick Lovell, head of aquatics for Wynn's H2 O-acrobatic spec- tacular Le Rêve. "Follow the railing on the left side as we go. Ready to dive?" We're in the dark recesses of the backstage area of the Wynn Theater, where I'm being treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of what many deem the most impressive show in Las Vegas. I'm diving with the unseen technicians of Le Rêve who provide support—literally a lifeline—for the show's performers. We're submerged to our chests and fully geared out in the aqua cou- lisse, or entry pool, one of three that lead to tunnels that connect to the 1.1-million-gallon center-stage pool. As we dip underwater, we hear music through 15 underwater speakers. Warning pings indicate movement of large set pieces, and a female voice intones stage cues, preceding the choreographed falls of the performers with a one-two-three count. Lovell fins through a tunnel along a railing strung with blue guid- ing lights. Regulators—breathing apparatuses that connect divers to air supply—hang from the tunnel ceilings. After about 30 feet, the tunnel arcs downward. Using universal diving sign language, Lovell circles his hand over the crown of his head to indicate an "overhead environment." Ascending while in the tunnel could result in a skull-pounding headache. The underwater world of Le Rêve looks like a James Cameron movie. As we move from the "four o'clock" tunnel to the depths of the "six o'clock" pool area—the circular layout is referred to in clock- face terms—machines erupt with streams of bubbles. Lovell motions to a beam for us to stand on, as an amphibian-costumed cast member swims above our heads and out of sight as he leaps out of the water. The surface blazes with orange and yellow light. "I really enjoy doing this," diver technician Pat McCormick said of his job earlier that day, while giving me a pre-dive skills orientation. McCormick, a former military and commercial diver, described diving Le Rêve as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. "To be able to swim through a tunnel with an overhead environment in low visibility, flashing lights, music, all kinds of activity… you'd never experience that anywhere." He first gave a quick tour of the stage from the surface. The main components are a center lift ringed by a "donut" lift, which is in turn encircled by three platforms, called "voms," with runways that go up and down and divide the pool up like pie slices. They can lie just beneath the surface for walking-on-water simulation, while the center and donut lifts submerge to 27 feet, where 14 divers supervise the underwater action. Eleven underwater cameras monitor every move. The cast members have to place complete trust in the divers. During synchronized swimmers A beneath-the-scenes view of Le Rêve's the show Lovell, also an ex-military diver, points at his eyes and then at a diver ("look!"), who puts his arms out as a performer falls into them, then positions him toward the appropriate exit tunnel and guides him away. Former Olympian synchronized swimmers use regulators to extend their time upside down. We perch on stainless-steel platforms and stools that will later be moved into place to form the pièce montée, the structure featured at the show's finale. The music is still pumping; a boom we hear comes from the impact of a high diver hitting the water. Le Rêve divers develop stronger respiratory systems than mine, and I motion to Lovell when fatigue sets in. We fin back through the blue tunnel; I'm exhausted and exhilarated as we surface at the aqua coulisse just in time to be out of the way of exiting divers and performers. And I have to agree with McCormick, there's nothing like this. ■

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