Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Carnivals, Carnys, Circuses, and Clowns

What is it about Carnivals, Carnys, Circuses and Clowns that seems to turn off a lot of people? Personally, I love ‘em. In this life I was a clown, doing street theater as “Maybe the Clown: And His Back Pocket Review,” and in a past life I am sure I was a “Carny.” 
 What I mostly adore about carnivals and circuses is the magic and they do a good job of creating that. I also love the color: colorful lights, banners, booths. rides at the carnivals, with the added costumes, death-defying acts, and trained animals at the circus. Perhaps I fantasize about the carefree life, narrow daily routine or being in “show biz.” Maybe I have always admired having physical prowess or is it about performing and having an audience? The intrigue behind carnival and circus cultures has always intrigued me.
On the other hand, living in such close spaces and with a small world of people around you every day must not be easy. I applied to Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Clown College many years ago and was turned down. I think the reason was that I had an already identified clown persona and they wanted the right to make those decisions. Also, on a questionnaire they asked if you were claustrophobic, probably having to do with the limited space each person lived in on the circus train. I answered YES!

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