deeper into the heart of planet circus

May 9, 2008

Final day starts badly. No internet connection in the room and an early start with Rodrigue. So up at 6 as usual; ablute. Have to shave again cos more make up training today. Ow, hate that. Nothing to scrape off anyway, thank god for the body shop shaving balm which Janet gave me for Christmas. It also actually has saved my excema ridden ass. Not that the excema is on my ass. It’s still behind my knee and elbow. A combination of stunning self discipline and balm has slowed down the excruciatingly pleasurable itch and scratch and weep and crusty angriness. But I digress. Quick trip down to the internet centre and some calls to Janet at home and sms to her cell and then a call; ‘Where are you? Gym? Its lunch time. We didn’t manage to speak yesterday and now today is full and I leave tonight.’ Damn not even Miriam at home. And Janet said she has some significant news for me. Nothing in the e mail except a request for the blog address. Wait for the half hour I can afford to and then flee. Quick bit of fruit, deliver the remainder to Daniel’s room finish packing up the room. Bed stripped, dishes washed floor, swept and things prepared for a hasty departure at 5.00 pm to get to the airport at sixish for the 20h00 flight to Paris then Joburg. But that’s after a full day. So pockets full of pears and banana and a veggie juice and over the road for a warm up in the space before Roderigue gets there.

My pelvis and upper thighs are pleasingly stiff from the yoga two days ago. Work with the baton a little. Then Roderigue is there and he goes through a detailed playing out of sections of his performance. Most of the info is technical. Put the baton here the lift is coming up over there watch out for the guy on the bicycle coming this way, be prepared to tell the others if the lift is not coming up here and then wait for the acrobats before exiting down this runway here.
He does a funny thing with the door, the entry to the rehearsal room. Every time he comes in, he goes for the wrong side of the door and its locked so has to take the other one. The seven or eight times he comes in and out the room while working with me over the few days he does this. I point this out to him and we have a good laugh about it. Then we share a good laugh when Dominique does the same thing. I share with Roderique my habit at home of the outside lamp on which I always hit my head going the one way. It’s been about a hundred and thirteen times I’ve done it now, and the lamp has only been up for a couple of years. Anyway watching him do the door introduces his quite funny earnest clown. He’s very precise about the movements and although they are not inspiringly creative or inventive or startlingly interesting they are deliberate and completely thought through and delivered with precise accuracy every time. The session is filmed by Danielle for later reference but the music is playing and you can’t really hear what he’s saying to me but it will prove useful later on. The time runs out as my yoga instructor arrives.

Her English is not very good but we have a laugh at my even worse French and she leads me through a painful and detailed hour and a half of pelvis opening thigh stretching agony and twisting so that I can sit in lotus as Sgt Pepper. Its fun and she is a very good tutor. I am carrying a lot of tension in my shoulders these days and need lightness. Something I keep demanding from students; old habits crept back. I see myself also carrying my head poked forward and shoulders rounded. No open chest. Have to change this. This ends and I go to physio. Marie Helene takes me through several exercises with the thera-band elastic thingy and then forgets to give me one. She writes down the exercises for me and I fly off to try to get home and Skype Janet as its early evening for her and would really like to talk to her before tonight when I won’t have a chance before getting to Joburg which will be hours away. Still no luck. More room pack up and clean out. Only half an hour, stuff down the pear and veggie juice. Run back for costume fitting. Pants are tight across the knee and limiting in the groin for bends. Have to get this right. Lots of movement and 472 performances to go. Also the jacket is carefully tailored to enable movement. This fitting better. But it’s not in the thick material. Mark the cutter wants another measurement of my inner leg and asks me to hold the tape measure as high up as possible. ‘At my genitals?’ I ask awkwardly. ‘No behind.’ Behind? That’s my poephol. You want to measure my leg from poephol to the ground? I hope my pants aren’t going to be snug against my peophol. I slyly lower it a fraction to give my peophol some breathing space and silently thank him for not holding the tape himself.

Then rehearsal with Danielle, but first a quick lunch, pass Daniel and Masha having had lunch together. Fast mover that boy. Delay rehearsal for few minutes to skoff down some grub. Veggie lunch is some potato and lentil and mielie mix not very appetizing. Hey, I’m starting to feel a bit tired. The yoga took it out of me and also the feeling of rushing this to that and with only a few minutes to spare to get to the airport. I check in with Bettina on the flights and she points out if I want to catch the plane, it being Friday and rush hour, I will have to leave before five and I have my last stilt session until five and it’s the one where I am due to be let loose, no training wheels. Damn. Anyway cancel that and make plans to leave straight after make-up training.

Daniel and I have also spent some good evenings watching the Beatles anthology and drinking wine and eating. The last night I finally brought myself to cook the pasta I’d bought on the first day. Nothing astounding. But good. We share some laughs. He tells me of sitting in the make up chair and chatting with David from LA who is taking over the lead clown in Corteo. (The lucky fucker he gets to work on the aerial equipment.) Anyway he deserves it; nice guy. Amazingly skew face which is exaggerated when he puts on the clown white. Anyway Dan is sitting in make up and they chat and he is asking Daniel what he does and Daniel tells him oh he works as a juggler and on the ring..
‘What, that big ring that rolls around the stage and…?’
‘Yes that’s the one.’
‘But that takes six months to learn…’
‘ and some trapeze work..’
‘ wow.’
The make up artist talks and David can’t understand and Daniel translates for him.
‘You speak French?’
‘Yes a little I was a translator for the UN for a few years.’
‘ Really??’
‘No, not really, I’m just joking.’
‘Fuck you.’ says David. His gullibility in the face of Daniels sweet faced bullshit is endearing (he wrote condescendingly). I am missing Daniel and can’t wait to see him again in LV.

But then in the middle of make-up training in comes Bettina; emergency… Air France has changed its complete itinerary. Flight cancelled. So; two alternatives one immediately and… ‘Forget the other one.’ I say. Stop, make up wipe off, pack up and run. Catch Daniel in the apartments quick goodbye. Get him to e mail Yvette about the flight change and hit the taxi. Then all smooth for the most part seven hours to Amsterdam. Then ten hours of daytime flying to joburg surrounded by a group of very excited twelve year old Scots kids going to the Kruger Park, and an eight year old girl behind me with a higher degree in chair bumping. KLM don’t have individual screens etc. but anyway I’m going home and looking forward to the Truth rehearsals. Long wait for baggage and I so nearly walk away with another person’s case which is almost exactly like mine even with the same lock but different enough to make me think that maybe he grabbed mine and left; wouldn’t that be sweet. Difficult to think clearly because jet-lagged and then long story short got home; great to see CJ and Emma and Yvette.

Try as hard as I could, I found it very difficult to encounter a single asshole at Cirque. The best group of aliens and others you could wish for. In every department people of such cool attitude and demeanour and no ego issues just excitement about the projects. Its corporate culture of cool . Its another planet; Planet Circus. Every single person positive energetic engaged committed helpful; you’ll never meet an asshole in Cirque. Trainers, administrators, tax experts, contract negotiators, technicians, artists caterers the lot. How can that be? This is after a week.

The prospect of Zim looms large and inviting. Change is a comin’. And if there’s going to be a festival in Zim then I want to be there and play. Very lucky.

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