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I have previously written about the circus that comes to Canto Verde (The circus is here, Cirque du Soleil it is not). I have to admit that having seen it last year I didn’t go back this year, actually I would rather visit the dentist and found numerous excuses for not going, however I thought I would share some of the highlights as reported to me by Neu.

A few days after the circus arrived and had settled themselves in a large dip in the sand, a storm blew up and the wind tore a huge piece of the tent away, the Big Top became…..well, a big ring.

The wind now added to the fun by whipping up the sand and chucking it in through the gaping hole in the roof, giving everything a generous coating. The sand had to be regularly swept off the sound system where it lay in a thick layer, it caused the CD player to temporarily give up after a few days, so for one show there was no more music (which could be considered a benefit by those living near by), just a regular tick, tick, tick from the machine as the compere tried and failed again and again to get it to work.

The acts often appeared as if performed with the accompanying special effect of a smoke machine as fine sand rained down on one and all and the audience had to repeatedly shake it out of their clothing and hair, even the popcorn had an extra something to it.

Some of the performers from last year have moved on (the dangerous and incredibly inept fire breather is possibly in hospital), there are no new performers but a few new acts.

There was the balancing act; a woman stood on  a small board balanced on top of 4 PET bottles on a table, unfortunately she fell off when she tried to place a chair on top of the board, the compère said the fall was caused by the wind. There were two jugglers who tried without much success to do what jugglers do, but it seems the wind was responsible for the balls rather too regularly falling to the floor.

One of their performers from last year, who goes by the name of Flit Fly was announced, to the great delight of the crowd (even though I didn’t go to the circus I could follow the performances from my house, owing to the loud-speaker system which the sand didn’t quite put an end to). Flit Fly is a tall, malnourished looking man of about 65, he has the saddest face even when he’s smiling and moves with the lightening speed of a snail. On this night he was to perform one of his most celebrated acts, that of walking on broken glass.

Flit Fly came through the space where the back curtain should have been,  the wind was playing with it, much to the annoyance of the performers who were trying unsuccessfully to hide behind it, Flit Fly walked as a condemned man into the main arena and shrugged at the crowd, arms straight down, palms showing. The crowd greeted him with shrieks of laughter, whoops and hollering,  little emotion shows on his face, just bemused resignation.

Flit Fly knelt on the floor by a piece of sacking and picked up a glass bottle, striking it once causing the glass to break, he spread the pieces infinitely slowly, picking out suspect shards and arranging the remaining to his satisfaction, then equally slowly he unfolded himself, gradually standing, then turned and ambled out of the ring. The audience restlessly waited and he returned a few moments later with another bottle, he gave the second bottle a tap, the bottle remained intact, he tapped again and then again but the bottle refused to shatter, the audience laughed uncertainly but then grew agitated as he slouched out again, to return with yet another bottle. Flit Fly gave the new bottle a tap, nothing, by now the crowd were getting fed up, there were shouts and cries until eventually Flit Fly gave up with the bottle, walked half heartedly over the few broken shards already on the sacking, then picked the whole lot up and traipsed off to no applause what so ever.

Another act of dubious ability followed (so dubious Neu couldn’t remember what it was) then the compère called out that Flit Fly would do a fire-breathing performance! The act was abandoned owing to the crowds openly hostile reaction to the announcement.

One evening a large number of people who live in the further reaches of the village arrived on mass, their dogs, sensing an event came along too. Not being used to crowds and the general seating plan, they spotted the large space in the centre and made them selves comfortable in the ring.

When the show began, a clown (who is a minor celebrity, with the emphasis on minor) called Casarola entered the ring and found himself surrounded by dogs curled up in the sand, he told the crowd he was terrified of dogs but no one made any attempt to remove them, seeing it as all part of the fun.

Casarola nervously did his show, moving as little as possible, it seemed the crowd enjoyed their addition to his performance, perhaps more than his original material, possibly because the act is the same as last years and probably the same as several previous years.

Neu finds my lack of enthusiasm for the circus baffling, he says that as little outside entertainment comes to the village we should make the most of it, perhaps he’s right but I for one was not sorry when the fire crackers that announced the end of the final show went off.

The glass act

The glass act

P1060942 P1060938 P1060935©Claire Pattison Valente 2012