Circus as Change

Tailgate Backstage at Gig

Especially interesting speculation with regard to whether the newfangled cirque is a durable long lasting incarnation. And it comes while finding by accident this other iteration of circus, something that seems to have survived against all odds.

Time will tell. Fortune telling is not my specialty. It seems the era when Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Phil Silvers, Chaplan, Groucho etc… all spawned from vaudeville and in some stroke of change were able to rise and command a place in these new high dollar venues of broadcast radio, the pioneering days of television and motion pictures.

But, in this journey vaudeville theaters withered and closed, those that could adapted their acts to playing fairs, nightclubs, and circus. They had the Catskills and Pocono’s, the senior circuit in Florida and to a lesser extent the winter resorts in Arizona, maybe Vegas.

There are revues still most times you see them on cruise ships. This is what is left of what we’d call vaudeville. Cirque has provided a vehicle for well trained circus artists, but they seem to design the shows to feature the cirque and we never seem to witness the creation of that new  phenomenal individual must see performer or act from the show. Our attention is drawn to the concept, the costumes, the colossal new this or that…

So, I’m
with you, more comfortable visiting the lower rungs of the pyramid of success
and show, where miracles of virtuous skill and rehearsal can be savored at a
graspable level. Of course Disney on Ice, and other large arena spec type shows
seem to endure and remain fixtures on the scene. Cirque with the wind at their
back are likely to remain influential for some years ahead, but all around them
the world is changing and one difficult day they will likely find they are no
longer as synchronized with the trends and tastes of the moment and their scale
and size will shrink to something other than what is happening now.

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