The caravans were seated in a neat circle, inside of which, a huge striped red and blue big top loomed high above the surrounding trees and trucks. Two flags blew high in the winds from the supporting king poles and the echo of pre-show music blared out from the doorways of the tent.
I arrived in between two shows on Saturday afternoon, people were bustling around, setting up the drinks and popcorn stand for another round of audience members. I was tired, over tired in fact – I had been traveling for 27 hours by the time I reached the circus and mild delirium had me in a constant state silliness. I bounced around, greeting old friends and squirrelling around in, out and through the tent. It was so good to see everyone. Luke was there and for the first time in over eight months, we knew we were actually going to be in the same place for long enough to really enjoy the time together.
I dragged my bags and stilt poles up into one of the sleep-in buses and flopped back on the bed at the end of the bus. I was woken 30 mins later by Luke standing over me in full costume informing me that the show was about to start.
It was an epic effort to force myself into some level of consciousness, I wanted to see the show. I would be a cast member in the same ring for the remainder of the tour, so this was the only chance to view it as an audience member. I stumbled out of the bus and made my way to the seating inside the big top.
The performance was lively, energetic and well loved by the audience. A small all-human cast, only 7 performers, each with two routines. This circus was animal free as are many of the modern traveling tents these days. Having traveled by caravan for a long time, in all honesty, I was delighted by this – not only for the animal rights issues, but there is also enough to do without having to look after a trailer zoo as well!
The finale was a spinning rope act, performed by Michael the rope warier.. and just like that, the show was closed and the cast were skipping back into the ring for a final bow. I remember smiling back at the beaming faces of my old classmates as they waved to the audience and retreated in a cloud of glitter back through the backstage gates.
I stood up with the crowd and made my way along the bleachers to the exit of the tent, to my surprise, the whole cast had magically appeared at the front oarning of the tent to shake the audiences hands and hi five the kids. I grinned at them all, congratulated them on the show, and snuck back to the bus where the excitement must have worn off instantly because in moments, I was fast asleep.