The Greatest Show On Earth
High costs, falling ticket sales and animals rights battles have brought down the curtain.
"Nothing is comparable to the experience that is Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®," says producer, Alana Feld. For the
"I never wanted fame; I just wanted to be valuable," says Peggy Williams. Such a sentiment sounds terribly out of sorts in the age of selfies and YouTube stardom, where fame is the sole aspiration. For Peggy Williams, such a sentiment isn't hyperbole, it's simply the truth.
I was young and so very green, but I knew this was an enormous opportunity. However, it came with something a lot weightier -- history. Holst, himself a former Ringmaster, informed me that if I were to accept the position I would be the first black American in what was then the 129-year history of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to preside as Ringmaster.
Clowning is a compulsion. The pull of clowning is inescapable. So it was for Joan Fernández Cabrera. "I feel a little magic," is how Joan Fernández Cabrera describes his transformation into his clown alter ego, Cantaleta -- a hyperactive blend of mischief, athleticism and a hapless romantic.
Of all the many trapeze artists I've had the pleasure to present, not a single one ever considered such a career in flight as a plan B or something to hold them over until their real dream kicked in. The trapeze is either for you or it is not.
Fear, heaviness and doubt were eviscerated by the onslaught of courage and joy it takes to fly, to dare, to soar, to be circus; and maybe, just maybe that inspired performance reached that someone in the shadows who we'll likely never meet. Hence, the show must go on.