Art at the Circus

This afternoon I was pleased to attend the 2006 Rajah Shrine Circus at the Hamburg Field House. The entertaining and exciting experience evidenced the essential value of human-scale live local performance in bringing together families and communities for a good cause.Circuses are ancient venues containing archetypal characters in timeless dramatic situations. The basic humor and humanity of the clown has existed for millennia. Clowns communicate both the absurdity and pathos of life’s humorous predicaments. The Rajah Shrine Circus has always featured clowning and the clowns of the 2006 show spread wave after wave of laughter throughout the audience. I was reminded that the world is filled with children of all ages. That’s a rare perception in an age characterized by growing up fast in an all-too-serious world. The Rajah Shrine show features a range of world-class circus professionals from Hamid Circus, Inc. Shane Hansen juggles all manner of things from clubs, rings, flaming wands, and a steel 6-foot open cube. The spinning geometric object etches out three-dimensional space like a gleaming satellite.Aerialists without nets, such as the stupendous Naidonkin Duo, worked the high ropes with flawless and death-defying skill. At times both rings featured simultaneously staged events. There’s nothing like sensory overload in real life – especially when compared to the sedentary sensory excitement of ersatz events such as video games or televised spectacle.The sights and sounds of the circus, the scent of hot roasted peanuts, the ebb and flow of the crowd, and the sheer joy of pure and simple entertainment will stay with me long after trivial electronic diversions have left my memory. My day was complete when I witnessed the impeccably executed antics of the Valery Cats. I had never seen a clowder of trained cats before today. But after witnessing this uncanny feline performance my heretofore unacknowledged quest for that particular grail is complete.The Shriners, who do such good and necessary work in our communities, have a tradition of presenting circus entertainment – good family-oriented fun. Supporting Shrine Temple operations is a laudable way to support their good and charitable work. And today, thanks to them, the field house was filled to capacity with smiles.*Images: Art at the Circus and The Naidonkin Duo

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