Few know this, but I try to work out every day. I was lucky enough to catch an episode of Circus during its original airing on PBS, and was hooked. This 3-DVD set captures the entirety of the series, with a MSRP ($35) that allows viewers to cheaply get their 6 hour fix. While the allure of going to a circus has declined for many with the advent of life-like video games and the rise of the Internet, a company like the Big Apple Circus is able to create a compelling enough reason to eschew all forms of technology even for a few hours. While it is true that the company is not doing perfectly (as the amount of funds that the average family has for a social budget decreases, their gate similarly shrinks), the Big Apple Circus continually tries to put on the best possible show.
What director Maro Chermayeff is attempting to do with this documentary is really break down the constituent elements that comprise the Circus, and show a humanity that sometimes is lost under a tremendous amount of makeup and costumery. Tempers flare up, relationships are entered into (and broken up), but everything seems to go off without a hitch every time the show begins. I must admit that I was not familiar with the Big Apple Circus before watching an episode of Circus, but I may actually have to get out for a performance some year.
Here’s to hoping that PBS continues to showcase some of the more forgotten and fading arts (such as those tapped during a circus performance) with their 2011 features and mini-series. Circus represents a retelling of the American dream, while showcasing the same working-together attitude that has always made America such a great country.