For their critically acclaimed production of Twelfth Night, Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier staged the Bard’s beloved comedy in a full-sized swimming pool in and around which the actors swam, splashed, and most notably – flew. To create their show stopping (and audience-drenching) effect, Chicago Shakespeare Theater once again called on Chicago Flyhouse.

For leading lady Michelle Beck’s entrance as the shipwrecked Viola, Chicago Shakespeare Theater wanted the actress to plummet from overhead directly into the pool, and turned to Flyhouse to create a flying harness that would integrate into her costume and provide a controlled and safe fall into the water. In addition, the actress needed to disrobe while still underwater (revealing men’s clothing underneath), and the dress would then fly out of the pool and up into the catwalks without her, symbolizing Viola’s freedom from constraint.

The project presented many interesting challenges for Flyhouse, including fabricating with water-resistant materials that would also be gentle on the performer, while coordinating closely with the costuming team to create an integrated, quick-release harness for the effect.

To fly the performer, Flyhouse used their Zip300vy2 custom motorozed Ziplift hoist, resulting in a show-stopping effect lauded by audiences and critics alike.