day to night on planet circus

June 12, 2008

That being said, Cirque is still one of the most amazing companies that I have ever worked for. Days go like this;


Wake up at 5.00am. Go back to sleep. Wake up at 8.00; shut the window close the blinds and switch on the air con for about fifteen minutes. Get to the computer and have my daily required dose of contact with Janet. It might be a virtual relationship but without it, as illustrated yesterday when Janet was in EL for the day because the dancers were performing there, a vital virtual one. Then do chores, wash up clean room, perhaps do a quick shop/bank trip things like that. Rest until lunch maybe cook a few potatoes some broccoli and cheese for lunch. Make contact with Daniel and coordinate departure times. Then head off to the theatre around three-ish. Sometimes we walk together sometimes not. On the way we take the world apart and put it back together in much better shape. Walk through the, what is now becoming, really hot sunlight and baking air to the Mirage. The walk takes 30 minutes at a good stride and I am enjoying the walk more and more. It’s a good loosener for my knee and a chance to focus on working for more alignment. The back street short cuts are familiar and friendly even at 12.30 at night on the walk home.

However, get to the theatre sign in, check the schedule to see that I got it right. First warm up in the High Training room to align the spine and loosen up. Then meeting with Kati to review a video of the previous night’s performance and have some notes. Then begin make-up because with stilt training from 5.00 til 5.30 there will not be time to do it before the show at 7.00. Spend an hour doing make-up in the calm of the dressing room I share with Sam and Patrick; two acrobats and trampoline artists and David Gomez the dance captain. The room is part of a divided room shared with other characters and acrobats including Kris who works the Russian swing, Hassan the dancer from France, Lincoln the actor, Darren the acrobat, Vieslav the acrobat, Taras the acrobat and Valerie the Russian acrobat who does the Lucy in the Sky sequence with the ladder apparatus. Lucy is played by Evelyne the flying red head who is an angel in straps. The atmosphere in the dressing room is beautifully calm.

So come 5.00 I pause the make-up before the moustache and eye brow application, and get into half the costume; the bottom half including jodpurs, boots and spats since these will be the footwear with which I will be strapped into the stilts in performance. Report to Coach Dan and work with stilts in the West Wing area of back stage which also houses the skate ramp and Russian swing for training. With close attention from Dan I stagger-stride up and down the area slowly gaining confidence, and learn how to fall. Occasionally other performers go past and have encouragement and circus-type humour to share. I finish this there may be a Tapis Rouge (company meeting), then back to complete make up, moustache and eyebrows. Then collect in-ear  and microphone equipment. Fit these in the dressing room, finish getting dressed by the fifteen minute call. Head back stage, focus and prep a little with the staff/baton. And onto stage…


Work through show to finale; All You Need is Love and curtain call. Backstage, remove microphone, and retire to the upstairs office with some fruit. The office area is quiet and calm compared to the green room which has a tv. Most nights I catch a power nap for twenty minutes or so on two carefully arranged bean-bags, then the half hour call and start the second show at 10.00pm. Finish to the sound of whoops and hollers from the rest of the company. Head backstage, remove costume; some to laundry and others repair or hung up. Remove make up, Daniel comes and joins me and removes his in the basin which he doesn’t have in the temporary dressing rooms he occupies in a tent outside. This is until the replacement of the cast is complete. Clean face dress and leave the building stagger through the throngs in the foyer smoking drinking and gambling out into the street and walk home. Half an hour later and I am at the hotel, perhaps a beer with Daniel, check the email and Skype, fall into bed. Get up for a quick snack and fall asleep.

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