Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The show must go on!

After a short tour with Eden bros circus, we have finished up our big top journey for 2011. There are lots of exciting plans for next year, but before I give away too many secrets, I thought I'd tie up the journal from North QLD.

Our last few shows with the circus were totally sold out. We had to pull in extra chairs from nearby venues, and lay down tarps at the side of stage for kids to sit on the cast were pumped, nervous, and excited -the energy from the audience was amazing. We stormed the ring and performed our acts beautifully. People clapped and cheered their way through the show and we were run off our feet setting props, making pop-corn and darting back and forth with odd jobs. Life at the circus is a whole lot more pleasant when we have good crowds to play to, makes all the hard work of putting up the tent and preparing the show worthwhile.

The last show came around, and once again, we were set with a full house. I stepped into the ring with Luke's juggling knives as he lightly made his way to the top of his 2.8m free standing ladder. I always get a little scared of this act - invariably the ground is uneven, or the board is on a weird wobbly angle or something else is happening to make the ladder more unstable than it should be, but Luke calmly reached out his hands to catch the knives. I threw them up, 1, 2 and 3, and stood back while he juggled and caught each one perfectly.
..Then as if out of nowhere, the ladder was down, he'd crashed backwards off the top rung and was lying in the ring with blood pouring down his face. Somehow we helped him to his feet and took him backstage where he collapsed on the grass in shock. It just so happened that there was a nurse in the audience. A moment later, she was back stage with us and looking at Luke's wounds. She shook her head and announced that the hospital was needed, so away they went, while we continued the show.

A little after half time, Luke was back on site, this time with 8 stitches, a large amount of injected painkiller and a dose of adrenaline. Everyone had been asking about him at interval but none of us had any idea how he was going. He sat down in the caravan for a few minutes while I went out to do fire hoop. To our amazement, he came out two acts before the end and announced that he would do his piece. We set his juggling equipment in the ring and watched as he waltzed back on stage as though nothing had happened. The show must, and did go on!
The crowd roared with applause all the way through, they were amazed to see him perform. The show finished and we packed the audience off home, it was decided that tent down could wait till morning.

The following day, poor Luke's painkillers had worn off and he couldn't even walk for the muscle tears in his legs. It took several days for him to be able to walk again ok, and a week or so later the smile finally returned to his face. By then we were on a bus back to Brisbane for the rest of summer. Tour done for 2011!

Now, I am happy to report he is fully recovered and back on his ladder. I am in rehearsal with a new aerial piece and both of us are madly applying for the next season of arts grants and residencies - I can't wait to tell you about what we have planned for next year, but that is a whole other blogpost..

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