The performance piece, created in Argentina and now playing in Seoul and Berlin, drew curious and hip crowds to Union Square downtown when it began previews June 11, 1998, and opened June 16. Audiences were presented with sense-dazzling aerial spectacle as well as splashed by one of the show's key elements: water. Producer Roth announced her plans to convert the landmarked American Savings Bank at 20 Union Square East into a 499-seat, Off-Broadway theatre in fall 1997. But she halted construction when she was approached by the producers of De La Guarda, who were searching for a space wherein the unique show could unfold. The empty, spacious bank seemed just right.
Roth said at the time that the theatre was little more than a large, open area, measuring 50 by 100 feet, bordered by large windows, and with a marble floor. There are no fixed seats, which is not a problem, as the audience for De La Guarda is required to stand (and occasionally shift location) as the ensemble, hung by rope and cable, perform around them.