Friday, December 12, 2008
Heaven and back!
Since running away to London with the circus (Madame Zingara Theatre of dreams) I have literally been to Heaven but then also to hell. Its the most fitting place for a circus to run to because there are so many other circuses here. La Clique, Cirque du Soliel and of course the less flamboyant Oxford and Picadilly Circus. I am also by no means the newest member of Zingara any longer as we have a new Lira act done by a local British girl, two incredibly defined strong men, twin contortionsists from Sweden and a new soundman from Brackenfell. All of which other than the sound man are temporary because our other contortionists and strong people are stuck in their respective countries with visa issues. Since we got here it has been balls to the wall. There is no cheap labour in London so we have all been working like pack mules and have literally been doing things like shovelling gravel in the icy cold and erecting tents, dressing rooms and laying flooring and carpetting like its going out of fashion. All of this with the very strict public and safety UK legislation hanging over our heads. We have survived fire, evacuation and hygiene inspections of the highest standards imaginable and we have come through it all stiff, sniffling but still smiling. Last night was our press night and unofficial opening night. Tonight is the true opening. I cannot begin to explain the nerves I felt before facing that sea of crittical English faces all being paid to be our judges and juries. But happily by the end of the night I was almost late for my final speech because I had so many people puling at my stilts and tassles to tell me how much they loved the show. Phew! We're not in the clear yet but I am feeling quite optimistic. We are going to have to wait until the reviews come out and the bookings begin to improve before we can really celebrate but I have good feeling. Otherwise, last Saturday I went to one of the biggest and most notorious gay clubs in the world. Its called Heaven and it was fun but I must confess that after a long day of rehearsing on my stilts my dancing was a little like a meatball ballancing on a pair of soggy cardboard chopsticks. I was moeg! Also, I have never heard so many Kylie Minogue songs in one night before. She must own the place or have shares in it because they even played "Locomotion". I can feel as I approach my thirtieth year on this planet that I am more of a restaurant, dinner party or pub kind of person because with such loud music and dramatic lighting (or lack thereof) I am amazed that people ever meet anyone new in a club. Its almost impossible. I tried chatting to someone very briefly but I couldn't hear what he was saying through Kylie's "na na na na's" and eventually we both shrugged, smiled at each other and then went our seperate ways.
There are loads of South Africans and Aussies here and you can spot them on the tube or busses as the only people smiling, laughing or chatting to one another. I'm afraid that the reports about the Brits generally being a sour lot are quite true. Rude and aggressive but then again I am generalising because I've only been here about two weeks. There are all sorts of strange things about London, for example their Woolworths doesn't sell fabulous food and sweets but is more like our Clicks and their Game is very small and you don't always win when looking for something you need in one of their shops. All that being said, I like it here. Its cold and grey but it buzzes and there is so much to see and do. There must be something in the water here because everywhere you go there are hundreds of people with babies in prams and they even do group mom and pram exercises in the freezing cold in the parks. The babies are very brave and are wrapped up like little catterpillars with just their faces showing in their prams as their mothers practise lunges in unison. This is what its realy like to run away with the circus. There are clowns and contortionists wherever I go in the streets and the underground and they have helped me see how normal we all in Zingara are in comparison.