Friday, October 19, 2007

i blame my parents for my disdain

My sister and I grew up as the kids of academics, and our parents weren't the sort of people who changed the way they did things just because a couple of little people shared their living space. So while our friends were going to the Ice Capades, T-ball and live Sesame Street performances, my parents took us to the ballet, art galleries and medical open houses. I learned the rules of when to shut up and when to clap at a very young age, and I was looking at dissected cadavers at the age of six or seven.

My sister, positively impacted by the medical open houses in particular, became a doctor. I just became an intellectual snob.

Since I never did much "kid" stuff when I was little, I've only had two experiences with the circus:
1. watching Brooke Shields walk across hot coals in her bare feet on Circus of the Stars (Brooke was so brave), and
2. watching poor, beat-up-looking animals stumble around the stage at the Shanghai Acrobats when I was in China (strangely, just before I became a vegetarian).
After those two experiences, I wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to go to the circus with a friend this evening.

Some of it blew me away. The contortionists, the acrobats, the balancing acts and the guys who ran around in spinning hamster wheels with much bravado: all of this was quite amazing. I lost marks in grade eight gym because I couldn't turn my cartwheel into a proper round-off.

But the fillers between acts made me wish I were reliving all those painful round-off tears. I understand why the troupe needs fillers and how the members need to keep the audience occupied. But these fillers?

I ducked during the inevitable humiliating audience participation sections, silently cursing my friend for getting us second-row seats. Then there was a man who played the trumpet out of his ass and there were more than a few fart and sex jokes. And there was a man roaming around the stage dressed as a dog who "peed" on one of the audience members, much to the delight of the people behind me. But more puzzling than this was the fact that there was more than one point at which various people, including audience members, were smacked with a fake steak. While I'm not really sure why people were being smacked, I'm even less sure why it was with a fake steak.

But clearly it's just me; there was laughter coming from all directions but my seat. Perhaps if I had gone to this stuff as a child I would have been properly trained to enjoy it.

Perhaps, but I'm still not convinced.


1 comment:

Tos said...

The marionettes would have added to the creep-o-horrific status of that event. I'm now going to lose sleep at night thinking about that!