The Circus

I watched all six hours of the PBS miniseries “Circus.”  Before watching it, I thought I hated the circus.  It made me think of sad-looking elephants and subpar performances.  But not this circus.

I was supposed to go see the Big Apple Circus.  On Christmas Eve.  That’s how good this miniseries was–I wanted going to the circus to become a Christmas tradition.  But that didn’t work out.  So the tickets got changed to the week before Christmas.  But that didn’t work out either.  So now, maybe there will be no circus this year.

I think the main thing that captured my imagination about the show is the lifestyle.  In one of the parts, the creative director/ring leader is preparing for retirement.  He’s lived his whole life with the circus–sleeping in a trailer, performing every day, traveling from town to town, being part of a strange and talented community.  But suddenly he’s leaving that behind.  He needs to look for an apartment and start buying groceries and living a “normal” life. 

It was almost tragic.  You couldn’t help but feel that he was going to be profoundly bored and lonely in his new life.  And then I thought about my own life.  How it’s more the apartment, groceries, “normal” thing than the trailer, performing daily, on the road thing.  And I wondered, am I profoundly bored and lonely?  And I just don’t realize it?

Perhaps.

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