Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sick with Circus

Circus AMOK played a show today in the gymnasium at Judson Memorial Church, which served as our rain location since Seward Park, where we should have been, was dealt a soft mist that seemed easy, but over time becomes a drenching cardboard disaster. I was, honestly, not looking forward to it at all. I've got some kind of head cold, going on 2.5 days, and the last thing I need to be doing is unpacking and repacking a truck full of circus stuff, and then of course, sweating through my clothes during the show, and running around being fabulous.

But I did it. It was a nice show. There were probably about 75 people in the audience--which is about 70 more than we thought might show up. Despite this being the circus's fifteenth season, and despite the fact that we perform for who knows how many people (1,000? 2,000? 5,000?) we still look around at each other before some of the shows and say "Do you think anyone will show up?"

I thought a lot about taking the show somewhere else, about touring. I wondered how the audiences might be different, how it could look more like theater to those other audiences, look more like a foreign spectacle. Because if you listen to our audiences, the way they scream and cheer, laugh and boo, all the right places--it really feels like the circus belongs to this city. If you took us out of that context, I'm not sure how it would come across.

I still think we should tour. Please, if you know someone with a few hundred thousand dollars laying around, or if you yourself have a few hundred thousand laying around, send it our way. We could use it wisely and well.

There is a moment in the show, just before the vaulting act, after a few "slower" acts--the animal bits, the wirewalking, the kind of acts that people really watch, and watch closely--where Jenny Romaine asks the audience if they are ready to see some of the something something (it changes every day, and I don't hear much of it anyway.) The point is, it ends with her asking the audience to scream their heads off like babies. And never fails--they do. It's easy to forget that they're out there sometimes. We are so focused on getting through the next costume change, the set change, the hurry-we-need-an-ice-pack-now.

So. Thank you for coming, for listening, for tossing money into the hat, for writing emails to unknown recipients about what our circus did to make your day better, for sitting your squirming, squealing children in the first row, for standing in the back and waving, for never failing to boo at the right moment. And for screaming your heads off like babies.

1 comment:

your mom said...

While strolling through the 4-H exhibits, crafts booths, corn dog huts, pony rides, sawmill, cormneal grinding, and tractor exhibits today at the Hamilton Co. Fair, we paused to sit on an itchy hay bale and eat our ice cream cones and listen to some bluegrass. As if by some magical brain chemistry, we turned to each other and said, "Circus Amok needs to come here." You could set up in the Free Speech Area (not a joke, see my pictures later) and give East Tennessee a glimpse of something outside their mountain boundaries. If I had the $100,000, I would do it!!