May. 11th, 2017

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Last Sunday we went to the last day of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey's circus. They're being driven out of business by several factors: Animal rights activists, Cirque du Soleil style circuses, and people just being too busy to go to shows. I mean, if they weren't going out of business, we might not have gone this year. Every year I think, gee, we should go to the circus, but then we're too busy. Well, this year we made sure we weren't too busy...

It was a full house, other people having done the same math. I don't know how full the arena would have been in a typical year. We scored some random parking very near the arena but not official parking, so it was (a) cheaper and (b) much faster in and out. We'd left lots of time for parking, so this got us into the arena right at door-opening time.

They have a pre-show, where you get to go down onto the show floor, and some clowns wander around interacting with you, and other performers do some tricks, e.g. juggling, bike tricks, floor acrobatics, and you can watch them. There were some audience participation parts of the non-clown performers, but we only interacted with a clown.

Trying to buy a tshirt was not a success, as they're trying to get rid of their stock, and no longer had many adult shirts. We came away with one medium. Too big for Jocelyn, too small for me, but either of us can wear it.

The show itself seemed less three-ring-y than I'd remembered the previous time, about a decade ago. There was often only one act performing. And they were more cirque-du-soleil-y than I remembered too. There was one aerial thing done with trapeze and bungee cord, with the lights off and the performers in fluorescent costumes lit by blacklight that could easily have been in Cirque du Soleil. It was lovely. Another act was all about parkour, and it was pretty cool. Trampolines and a very-well-sprung mat and those guys got a lot of height for their flips. The theme of the circus was exploration, and we'd just come from the regular jungle, with the tiger act, and this was the "concrete jungle", which also set the stage for a big act with BMX bikes and ramps, doing 360's in all possible axes, racing around looking like they were going to crash.

We were disappointed there was no flying trapeze. I guess instead we got bungee cord dancing in black light, and a lyra act with several different hoops being used at once. There was a human cannonball, tigers, camels (how are camels really different from elephants for this purpose?), poodles (man you can get dogs to do anything and they sure looked like they were enjoying themselves, tails wagging all over the place), and the usual assortments of clowns, jugglers, dancers, and other extras.

So, it was fun, and I'm sad that I'll never get to go again. But, there are all these other opportunities, what with Circus Smirkus (coming to Waltham in July...) and other local things.

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