Sunday, June 13, 2010
The Flea Show
So we all went to the flea circus on saturday. Before we left we were discussing whether it was cruel or not. There was talk of wings being pulled off, barbells and glue. We were early and some of the audience from the previous performance were leaving while we had coffee in the foyers restaurant. I heard a child of around ten complain, "But they weren't real!" I then suspected what might have been going on when I inquired at the ticket desk about magnifying glasses and the receptionist seemed to be barely containing her laughter, and that maybe I didn’t have to worry about animal cruelty...
In the theatre the children's anticipation grew as we waited outside a suitably mysterious looking tent. Once inside we made a circle with other children and parents around the miniature circus ring, contained in a beautifully presented suitcase. There was a tight rope, a canon, a trapeze and a flea hotel where the performers rested after their amazing feats.
The show was performed by a cast of colourful characters from many countries including Renalda (who needed a little extra time to tie up all her red boots.) I was lucky enough to be chosen as the volunteer who used the magnifying glass to confirm the fleas. I was offered a bikini but had to refuse this time. Some of the costumes were amazing and who knew fleas are just like us and come in blond, red and brunette? One unfortunate needed the kiss of life after being fired from the canon, and was miraculously resuscitated by the ring master who in his enthusiasm after she came to life, duly clapped her back to death. This brought forth a round of laughter from my heartless children. Fortunately there was a man (my partner) in the audience who kindly donated a flea from his fine head of hair, (I’m so proud!) and the show went on.
It was difficult to see the fleas at times, but we followed their progress through the movement of the barbells they carried across the tight rope or the twitching of the ladder as the climbed up. The children in the audience were fascinated and we all got swept up in the atmosphere and ended up chanting “heave! Heave! Heave!” as one tiny flea rolled a heavy prop (a thousand times its own weight!) up a runway. If there was any doubt as to the existence of these hard to see but talented creatures they were dispelled by little touches like the splash of water as one dove from a high board into a tank of water and the times we did see them circling the ring. Our children were both convinced and amazed; their eyes never left the circus ring during the performance. We were sprayed with special minty protective spray as we left...though I did feel an itch or two later.
Suspense of cynicism is a must for this performance, suits children who know the tooth fairy is alive and flying to someone's house as we speak.
The performance was by Pig Nut company (& fleas.)