Sunday, 10 November 2013

The day after tent-up..

*eve monstor claws her way out of bed and staggers towards the coffee* ahhwwyygjghkkkkk! This morning I am a pile of aching limbs and blisters, tangled in the wisps of matted hair. I got up in the middle of the night to consume a meal three times the size of anything I would normally eat. I think maybe I have lost just a little bit of conditioning since the last time I did tent :p Remind me to never take time off again!

Somehow is this state of crazy aches and pains, covered in bandaids and with every part of my back strapped, I headed in to Woden Valley Festival for a four hour set on stilts. It was a perfect day for it, the storm even stayed away until after pack down.

This is our tent all decorated for the festivities, standing tall, behind me in my fav stilt costume (today with added gloves to hide the blisters!)

A tiny-top distraction

In between stands with our new circus, we have a couple of opportunities to dust off our own tiny-top circus tent and haul her out for the enjoyment of local festivities..

This is the case today, so we are currently prepping for the first build-up of this season. The tent trailer is over-run with poppies, the flowers almost half the height of the caravan!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

What ever next?

Luke and I arrived back in Australia to the unusual experience of being in a real house. My family have played Tag-team and disappeared to Paris, giving us the wonderful opportunity of house-sitting.

It is a strange thing to be able to make toast and tea at the same time without blowing out a generator. Or to be able to go to the bathroom without having to put on boots for the outside world. Or even to be able to walk in the door without unhitching the house from the car and putting stabilisers down - maybe this is a healthy break from caravan life!

Here are some pictures of our casual training sessions at our favourite park. Luke is practicing his 7 ball juggling, and I am practicing an 8-hula-hoop split.

While at home, coincidentally, a circus rolled in to town.. 

Now most normal people might go to the show, tell their friends, and continue with their planned break from work. That really isn't our style - So we ditched the idea of a tour-free holiday and joined the circus.. We are still kind of having a break though as we are not performing in the show. We are working as front of house staff, ushering, and the occasional crew job.. That is still a break.. isn't it?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The European Juggling Convention

..So while we were in the area, we decided to check out the largest circus convergence in Europe - 9 days with 6000 other circus people, all playing, sharing, learning, teaching and having a ball.. Here is their official video.

Twice as nice

We gradually settled into life at the Glastonbury festival, and pretty soon our first show times were upon us. Our opening show was in the main circus big-top and was a crazy array of complex aerial rigging, carefully choreographed juggling routines and lots of work on stilts. It was pretty amazing to premier it in such a prestigious venue.

Our Aerial show, however, was not the only performance that we had for the festival. Each night we also lit up our venues with a fire spectacle piece.
I think in many ways, I actually had more fun with the fire show - The audiences were great for both, but we had a little more freedom to play with the fire, and that show was also entirely under UV lighting which made my hoops glow like radiant spirals. Such fun :)

There are a bunch more photos on Will-o'-the-Wisp Flame Arts site.


Friday, 4 October 2013

Double trouble - Glastonbury Part 1.

Luke and I bundled off the coach, excited, but hot and also tired. The flight from Australia had been long, closely followed by a tube trip, a second tube trip, a train journey and then a second train to Castle Cary.. (All prior to the already mentioned coach trip). We found our suitcases, ladder, hoops and assorted gear and looked up over the dusty expanse.

Glastonbury Arts Festival.

We pulled our 75kg of circus equipment up to a gate and asked the gate crew to radio for our artist transport to collect us.
Sadly for us, no such transport had been arranged and it was up to us to lug everything to the Theatre and Circus headquarters on the other side of the festival. I am not going to go into too much detail about this experience, except to point out that we were both extremely jet-lagged, had no water, and were pulling heavy gear across grass (which the wheels were not designed for) in heat that was above 35 degrees Celsius. It was an introduction to an event that I will never forget.

We met up with the organisers who were to tell us where our accommodation was. Having now not slept for about 35 hours, I was very much looking forward to crashing out.
Sadly, the accommodation was not ready.

So.. This was resolved, we rested up and then went to find our stage managers for our show times.  On all of our performance days we had been given slots that either crossed over with times when we were performing elsewhere, or where we had 10 minutes to finish one show, high tail it across to a second venue, pre-set and pre-dip, (All being fire equipment) and be on stage.. So basically this was all impossible.

 I have performed at a huge number of events, and never have I had an experience quite like this one.. 

More on Glastonbury soon..
 The big-top where we performed 6 out of 9 of our shows - with added high wire walker!

 The view from our second venue (Outdoor venue)


The persistent and annoying sound of a blowfly was my first clue that daylight was already here. I pulled a sheet over my head and tried to hit snooze on my flying alarm clock. The minutes passed and gradually my thoughts became more coherent. A whispering thought echoed through my mind - it is the very last show day of tour.

We have been in Parkes since Monday and it has been a long week. HIgh winds slowed Tent-up to almost double the time, we have been busy participating in the local Christmas parade and doing flier handouts on stilts. It is hard to believe that after 30 stands we are rounding up for our finale. What a year!

It is time for me to go and set my props for the last time, set out the seating, hang the backstage curtains and make sure that our sweet stand is clean and ready for customers.. That's right, it is almost SHOWTIME!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Guess the handstand venue..

While traveling with the circus, I get to see all sorts of amazing places. I have a tendency to take my tourist photos up-side-down. Maybe while on the other side of the world, this makes me feel the right way up?!

So, where was this one taken?

The WILDlife on tour

Australia. Land of the dry ground, deadly wildlife, violent birds, and drunken townsfolk - actually, all of these things were a part of our time in the sizable town of Griffith in the heart of New South Wales.

The air was hot and dusty, the ground was hot and dusty, we encountered the most solid rock-like ground for our pegs that we have ever seen - the boys hammered away for hours, struggling and sweating to get the tent up. I had a good go at the pegs, but my tiny girly body didn't even succeed in getting one full peg into the ground, so I set about arranging all of the marking materials for the next stand.

Our kiwis experienced the swooping magpie for the first time this morning. Luke turned around, returned to the caravan and emerged holding a large stick above his head.. Kerry turned to face his feathered opponent and commenced a Haka.

Today it was clear that the time had come to take up arms against the magpies. And by arms, I actually mean legs as we ran back to the caravan, giving up on the hope of bathroom attendance.
The magpies were viscous, violent and aggressive. It was impossible to leave the confines of our fence line without an assault. I think now our two Kiwi boys have a solid Maggie phobia!

Night fell, the only safe time to visit the bathrooms - or was it?

The early sunbeams crossed the caravan and the various phone alarms chorused in the morning light. Kerry emerged from his sleeping quarters and stumbled across to our caravan. We heard a plaintive call from him and opened the door to find him looking woeful and holding up his drink bottle.
Floating in about an inch of water left at the bottom of his bootle was a HUGE dead Red back spider. The redback is a spider that has been responsible for a number of deaths on Australia, and is broadly recognised at the top of the venomous spider lists. Apparently the spider had crawled into the bottle as Kerry, half asleep filled it up in the middle of the night. Through the night he had drunk most of the water, without realising that it housed his deadly friend. "Will it hurt me if I have drunk some spider?" He wailed.

Tent time!

The circus has begun a new tour in our tiny-top circus tent. It is back to caravan life for us and the mercy of weather, wind, ground conditions and wildlife. This week we have two towns of shows, one in Darlington Point and then, the weekend in Griffith.

 Darlington Point is a little one street town of  pub, a fish and chip shop and a little caravan park. We stayed in the caravan park for a week or so while we did the poster runs. The family that ran it are really lovely. The town is hot, dry and there were never many people on the streets.

The tent is going up here, while at the same time, we go ahead to Griffith to visit the schools and shops with posters. Everyone has a million jobs in this circus at the best of times - more so, in a two stand week. It is so exciting to be out of the halls and theatres and back in our little tent. The whole team is buzzing and the lifting of the tent has attracted more than a little attention from the people in town.

Here is a pic of the tent *almost* set up - Luke managed to get basically the entire thing up on his own while we were away for marketing - The whole time being attacked by dangerous swooping wildlife! (Aussies will know exactly what I mean, everyone else can imagine whatever flying beasts you think would be the most terrifying)


Saturday, 28 September 2013

A Pizza from Mario

It had been a long day. We were set up in the outskirts of Melton in a small place called Bacchus Marsh. There, we were being hosted by a scout group that was madly fundraising for a USA tour. Lovely bunch - but still, I get off topic..

It was raining. (Surprise, surprise) So far our trip to Victoria had shown us nothing but wind, rain and a loot of crazy city driving. It must have been quite late as we pulled back into town.  The deserted streets and darkened windows of the restaurants taunted us with their "closed" signs. - Even the supermarket was shut. We were, it seemed to be denied all hope of dinner.

We came around a corner, about to head home to the lot when we spied a little sign, flickering in the rain. "Mario's Pizza" We were saved! 

The three of us piled out of the car and danced through the persistent and heavy raindrops and into the dry comfort of the little pizzeria.

A burley man sat in the corner, curly moustache and a crinkled face. He heaved himself to standing from his window seat and waddled cautiously over to the counter. "What are you doing here?" He asked us.

The three of us looked at each other, not quite sure what to make of this - It soon became apparent that the town didn't see too many outsiders. We explained that we were with the circus and that we wanted some pizzas, at which point he looked at us, almost as confused as we were. He reluctantly took our orders and began to enthusiastically rant about pizza.

He eyed us up and down, Kerry first. 'You look like a funny character' he said, "Is he a funny one?" He asked us, nodding at Kerry.  "Funny circus man, HAHA! Yes, he's a funny one, yes? You need a funny name!" He paused "I think your name should be Gretch! Do ya like that? mm? Gretch, yes"
Kerry thought on this for a moment, politely wondering what to make of this chortling pizza man.

He went back to his pizza for a moment before turning to Luke and I. It was our turn for new names: Ruben and Cynthia.

The boys had a bit of a giggle over these ones, but before Mario could get too excited about our new names, he remembered something important; The pizzas.

-He was so busy re naming us all that he forgot that we had pizzas in the oven and burned them.

He pulled them all out with an emphatic raising of the arms "ooh Mario! He said " The pizza!, *mumble mumble. Oh no, Mario!"
Thankfully dinner was salvageable and soon we left our new, excitable friend to his pizzaria.

We dashed our food back out to the car and waved good bye to Mario - He walked us out and waddled back inside. The flickering light above the door continued to blink, the outline of the pizza man rejoined the dim window, and we returned to the familiarities of our caravans.