The Show Must Go On -in development

IN DEVELOPMENT – premiering 2018

The Show Must Go On will examine when things go wrong in circus. Looking at the mindset of performers, dealing with an ever-present threat of death- and the morality of an audience, hungry to see circus artists take those risks, The Show Must Go On will be both disturbing and thrilling.

Following a week in the Roundhouse’s Sackler Studio, Circus Geeks presented a short showing of a few scenes, based on accidents in circus, alongside aerialist Maisy Taylor.

Having trawled through old newspaper articles, Arron worked with Maisy on developing a scene using corde lisse, based on a vivid account from an early 20th century newspaper of a lion tamer whose favourite  beast turns on him.

In another scene, Arron used an interview with a recent colleague, which is spoken verbatim. Cedrik Pinault was working on a South-American circus show, when another acrobat, Wilson Gomes Barreto, who was newly inserted into a Russian Swing act, knocked Cedrik out when he fell from a great height. Wilson lapsed into a coma from which he never awoke.

What became clear from this week was that The Show Must Go On will likely be staged in the round. Working with Maisy was fantastic- as an experienced actress, her integration of text and circus was very agile. We definitely felt there was room for another performer- so in the next stages of R&D we will also work with a floor acrobat.

Circus Geeks will also spend more time developing ideas around the morality of a paying audience watching performers take sometimes mortal risks. In the very short time Circus Geeeks had, they worked on clearly defined stories- which over time may be knitted together with a larger question about whether it’s right that we demand that circus performers to take these risks.

Huge thanks to the Roundhouse for hosting Circus Geeks. I’ll leave you with that newspaper article to chew on…