Friday, January 13, 2012

Circus

I love circus in general, and I definitely love the newly-rebuilt circus building downtown Minsk. As far as I know, they only opened for one show last year because they were still working on some details of the renovation. This year’s holiday show featured a new self-illuminated floor during the first half. We came back during intermission and discovered a big hole where the floor had been. It returned from the depths with a new covering for the horses. Nothing like this happened last year, that’s for sure.
When I was a kid I used to enjoy watching Russian circus programs on TV. One detail that always fascinated me was the way the audience would clap in unison when they really liked something. Here in Belarus we don’t always clap in unison, but we did it at the circus. This made me feel like I was living an old fantasy and certainly added to my pleasure.

This year’s show didn’t include any performances by frightened or tormented animals. Since I don’t like tormented-animal acts, almost nothing detracted from my pleasure. The only unfavorable detail was the tired little kid in the next row that kept whacking me on the head with her program and kicking the back of my chair. I didn’t even mind that much because circuses are intended, after all, for kids. Finally Alla gave her a mandarin to eat and miraculously she calmed down.

I think we were lucky to get the tickets. I didn’t go down to buy them until a few days ago, and all they had to offer were tickets for the VIP box up at the very back of the viewing area. (These would be called nosebleed seats in the USA, or God seats in England.) The VIP seats cost two-and-a-half times the price of front-row seats, and I declined the opportunity. Wanting to make sure Alla felt OK about missing the circus when at least some tickets were available, I called her. While I was still on the phone, the agent came back to the window and motioned me over. “You only want two?” she asked. “I just found a pair.” We ended up in the fifth row of the section below the VIP seats.

A Cuban circus is coming to town next month. I don’t know anything about Cuban circus traditions, but I’m confident at least that we’ll like the music. I think we’ll try to buy a pair of tickets on our way to the theater tonight.
Finale

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