Last Wednesday my sister, brother and I watched a circus performance for the first time with a couple of our friends. When you hear the word 'circus', it's easy to just imagine clowns riding around on unicycles while juggling, with other clowns doing backflips in the background. Whilst there were definitely unicycles and many flips throughout the show, summarising it in just one sentence would be gravely discrediting the whole experience.
From when the lights went up to after the finale, every part of the performance was meticulously thought out. Not one movement was executed without precision and purpose, and every artist displayed their skills with stability and awareness of the other artists and stage space around them. While the unicycle routine seemed to be the majority of the audience's favourite, my personal favourites were the opening sequence with the frogs and the daunting yet mesmerising trapeze sequence.
As is with all performances, the performing artists were not the only ones to credit for the hugely successful show, though. The lighting, music, make up, costumes and smooth scene transitions all contributed to flawlessly creating scene after scene of jaw-dropping material (my jaw was literally hanging open for at least 100 minutes of the two hour show). I found it especially amazing how they were able to so quickly and clearly set the scenes- we could immediately tell what each prop and background represented.
I guess before last night I had forgotten how magical live performances are- for both the performer and the audience. Unlike films and TV shows, live theatre, music, dance and other on-the-spot performances hold so much potential (for both things to go terribly wrong and to exceed expectations), because you only have one shot. The energy and tension, from performer to performer and performer to audience, is really that winning quality to creating a mesmerising show and making us believe in magic.