Unfortunately, I’m doing my thesis for my BA in Communications studies at the moment. Fortunately for me, I won’t be spending my time in the library trying desperately to string together 12,000 words! I will be spending my time at one of the happiest places on earth – the circus.
Ya see, my group and I are doing our dissertation in the form of a 25 minute video documentary on the changes that the circus has underwent in Ireland! So, we get to travel the country looking at the circus from a unique and privileged perspective!
It’s been a completely surreal experience thus far. For one thing, the stuff I have always loved about the circus is still there; the crazy acrobatics, the buzz of the audience, the music and of course the clowns! However, the shows have almost become West End productions – slick, choreographed and ready for the 21st Century child. The only thing missing are the animals…which I have to say, I couldn’t be happier about. Its not that I think the circuses were mistreating their animals (having met several Irish circus families, I believe this couldn’t be farther from the truth), but I don’t think a field behind Tesco is the right place for tigers, hippos and elephants. The human acts in the shows certainly make up for the absence of these creatures!
The surreal part really is seeing the performers outside of the Big Top! They’re normal people with families, that just happen to be very talented at an unusual art-form. The passion for the art has been in their families for generations.
The performers of our age love to have a laugh after the shows and go for a few pints. They went to school and performed in the evenings and on weekends. The next generation have it even easier, with individual tutors coming to and from circus sites to keep kids on the road up to speed with the curriculum. They’ll learn about multi-culturalism from their fellow performers, confidence, and business skills all in addition to clowning, juggling and acrobatics! These children will see all this as normal. Its incredible!
So, do yourself a favour. Forget about being mature, relive a cherished childhood memory or be a circus-first timer. You know you haven’t grown up completely when clowns* can still make you DIE LAUGHING. I’d recommend Fossett’s, they’re truly magical.
*I apologise to those of you with a fear of clowns. I myself was a bit creeped out by them, but having met Ed Fossett (Otto the clown) and seeing him put on his makeup..I have been assured that there is nothing terrifying about them! Seriously. “It” was just a movie.