Sunday, 6 October 2013
Juggling the balls of life can be very difficult at times, but when all is said and done, it is one truly amazing journey. Juggling is of course simply one of the skills you will have to master if you wish to advance to the point of leading the extravaganza. The pinnacle of your performances surely will rest upon your ability to master the clown in you. To be able to put on your masks, smile, cry, laugh, be animated and wow your audiences with aplomb. For certain, all of the many guises and acts you could perform in this spectacle called life, the clown represents all that is at odds within. Both happiness and sadness. Joy and mirth, light and darkness, courage and fear. In short, without the courage to be daring, our show would almost definitely not go on... And no show means no revenue, no finale will warrant no rewards.
I recently visited the 'Greatest show on earth,' Mr Fips' Wonder Circus, with my niece and nephew. It was an impromptu visit and as it would turn out, also a very rare treat. I could see the joy and excitement on their faces as we arrived, and I could tell that they were looking forward to what was to follow. This was just the state of the performers and not a patch on the excitement of my niece and nephew.... The buzz was making me feel electric, as I reminisced on days gone bye when I'd come to the circus as a child myself. The cast, the ringmaster and the clown (Mr Fips) all greeted us at the entrance, welcoming us into the BIG TOP tent.
As we found our seats, we saw several of the staff, busy selling all the frills and trimming around the interior. Candy floss, jelly beans, hot dogs, fruit juices and tea, alongside the gizmos and electronic gadgets glowing in the dimly lit arena. The children's eyes were bulging, looking from one side quickly to the other, taking in how grand were the arrangements of the magical Wonder Circus. You may be aware that traditionally the same members of staff serving refreshments etc, are also the performing artists and background crew. The whole circus is set up on this ability to multi task and share in the relevant jobs to be done. None more so than the circus clown. I dare say they also build the big top too.
As the lights finally dimmed the elegantly attired ringmaster boomed out his very warm welcome, the flares of whirling magical light, span in the hands of so many children. And so much entertainment was then packed into the two hour or so show, that you couldn't fail to be moved towards rapturous applause at every opportunity. High flying acrobatics, a hula hooping princess, uni-cycling tricksters, chainsaw jugglers, magic and cutting people in half, and of course the comedy routines with suds and custard pies, left not one person po-faced and unresponsive. This was by far one of the best value for money, two hour experiences I can remember. My niece and nephew are still talking about it months later. I'm so glad that I was there that day to have shared the experience with them. I absolutely loved it.
So what does this have to do with ordinary life you may well ask? Let me try and share with you my analogy, the insights I found in this adventure to the circus.
Primarily, the variety of skills that go into making it a complete show. Balanced, exciting, arousing and most of all, good fun. The clown to my mind is the greatest of all the acts, the most expansive character of the circus. He began by sitting at a stool in front of a performers mirror, where he stared wistfully into the image being reflected back. Then slowly he began to apply the face whitening powder, some rouge to the cheeks and glitter, and last of all the iconic red nose. This was obviously a story in itself, as if he were now hiding the real person behind a comic mask. In this guise he was able to go beyond his fears of conforming to an identity of the ordinary, and step up into his greater and more expressionist self. And in doing so he could perform routines that for us as adults, are almost considered shameful in public. In this persona he brought immense joy to so many children, young and old.....
So like our inner clown, the one that convention makes us hide beneath veils, masks, appearances of professionalism and adulthood. And here for a few brief hours we had escaped back to the essence of innocent selves, our hidden child. I believe that we all put on false fronts, hiding what we think that others will not understand or appreciate. Seriously, this is comical in itself..... People see who we really are, no matter how much we try to cover it up. I've also noticed how I too used to betray myself and my integrity in this pretence. So now I'm letting out the child in me again. Peter Pan returns to never never land.
Life feels like a game, one we try to bend the rules of whilst playing. But it is so much more like a circus. Let's try to make our clown take him/herself less seriously in this slapstick comedy we create, and really enjoy the performance...!!!
Thank you for reading...
Love, Peace and Light.