Cirque du Soleil was in the news recently. Well, we went to a more amateurish (yet utterly entertaining) circus here in Aber the other day, and there were plenty of opportunities for death there! There was this huge murder wheel thing. The most frightening was an extraordinarily precarious balancing trick which involved being several feet off the ground whilst remaining on top of two flimsy plastic tubes, there was a football and a dinner tray somewhere in this mix too– all too much for my weak heart. Maybe it’s actually more thrilling to watch these less professional circuses because you know there is a real chance that they could die, (and it would probably only make the local press). Whereas I imagine those watching Cirque have quite a bit more faith in the spectated act.
I think it was my Granfer who had very little respect for any acrobat who used a safety net, and he had a point. There’s something in us that only gets thrilled when we know there is a real chance of death, we feed off the adrenaline, and the performers feed of the buzz they can see that they’re providing. Sadly Canada has found that this frisson can result in calamitous events.
Circuses are much safer places than they used to be though. Taid casually told us that he once saw a lion jumping through a ring of fire in London when he was a boy! That’s a circus.
My only experience of Cirque du Soleil is watching them in a silly film in which the characters get really freaked out by how freaky the whole freaky thing is, due to freaky fungus. I imagine that they would have freaked even more if any accident had occurred.