Circus Skepticism

I’ve seen two student shows the last few days and I’m due to see another this weekend. It’s the time of year again; the time for the End Of Year Student Performance.

After each of the shows I found myself having a familiar conversation with a number of people: “what did you think of the show?” It’s not a strange question to ask. I must have asked it and been asked it thousands of times over the years after almost every circus show, theatre show, film and music gig. And obviously some I like and some I don’t like.

There are very few movies I don’t like. For the most part I can accept them exactly as they are and exactly as they’re not, regardless of whether they are Hollywood Blockbusters or Indie Flicks I can enjoy them, letting the story and the fantasy wash over me, taking me away from my life and letting me get wrapped up in an alternate reality for a while.

But when it comes to circus I find myself stuck. I no longer get wrapped up in the thrill and the excitement of the circus, I struggle to be amazed. I find myself waiting for the fake slip on the high wire, watching the acrobats intently for flawed technique, or watching the use of safety lines instead of the trick itself.

I find it hard to enjoy circus these days and am pleasantly surprised when I walk out of a show having enjoyed myself, having been entertained, and having forgotten about the safety lines.

Is it just me? Am I overly critical these days? Or do you find yourself doing the same thing?

2 thoughts on “Circus Skepticism”

  1. I was pondering this very point whilst watching a convention show recently. I think when you see a certain number of acts using the same props, the intrinsic WAW factor of say, a 3 hoop split or a 5 ball shower will disappear and raise and eyebrow as opposed to getting a cheer. If you perform with that prop yourself or as part of a group that does, your mind instinctively goes into a mindset where you are thinking, okay are you better in terms of tech skills/costume/act creation. That can take you away from a place where you are purely experiencing the art and letting it effect you emotionally.

    Having said that, I still do get moved, be it a trapeze act @ Carnyville, the shoe box tour, or just a beautiful piece of three ball juggling.

    Thus like great loves they occur seldom* but remind you of the whole point of being alive and calling yourself a performer.

    *, seldomley which In my opinion reads better is not actually a word. thus my use of seldom. I do enjoy the English language despite my not particularly firm grasp of it in it’s written form, I apologise for any punctuation issues. I fear I have probably made many a gaff even in this short passage.

    Marky Jay. Using office time effectivly

  2. Writing from Montreal Completement Cirque, let me say I am so incredibly inspired by the shows I’ve seen here. I just see people generously giving the best that they have to an audience, and it’s incredible. I’ve been on my feet even for the shows that weren’t so good just because I’m so happy that they’re doing it.

    There are times when I scoff at performances too, for sure. I’m sure some performers scoff at me (and my safety line). But someone in the audience is enjoying it, and that only happens because we go out and do it.

    If you ever get a chance to see Compagnie Rasposo’s Le Chant du Dindon, don’t you dare miss it.

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