Author Topic: Circus  (Read 16579 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

LCSM

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 249
  • Gender: Female
  • @LuciaCorak
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Professional
Circus
« on: Jan 03, 2008, 11:09 am »
I believe there was a topic on this a while back but I was wondering of anyone had any circus expirience and, if so, how did you come by it? I've always wondered exactly how a "Circus SM" works and what they do. Thanks!

centaura

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 405
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Circus
« Reply #1 on: Jan 03, 2008, 01:48 pm »
Here's one thread I found about circuses - http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,1318.0.html

Its more of a how do I get employed thread, though.  I know there's someone who works for Cirque running around the board.  Hopefully they will see this thread and reply.

-Centaura

chops

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 65
  • Gender: Male
  • My tie got caught in an arbor today
    • View Profile
Re: Circus
« Reply #2 on: Jan 03, 2008, 02:01 pm »
Circus or Cirque? 
Peace,

Chops

LCSM

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 249
  • Gender: Female
  • @LuciaCorak
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Circus
« Reply #3 on: Jan 03, 2008, 02:06 pm »
I was thinking more about a traditional circus just from a curiosity point of view, but I'm also intrested in learning about Cirque, so if you have anything to offer, do share.  ;D

PSMKay

  • Site Founder
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1351
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://www.smnetwork.org
  • Affiliations: None.
  • Current Gig: SMNetwork *is* my production.
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Circus
« Reply #4 on: Jan 03, 2008, 05:02 pm »
You may want to read through the chat transcript of the recent chat we had with GalFriday.  She gave the Cirque experience a very thorough going-over.

Transcript is here: link

chops

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 65
  • Gender: Male
  • My tie got caught in an arbor today
    • View Profile
Re: Circus
« Reply #5 on: Jan 03, 2008, 05:27 pm »
I did three shows with the Shriners Circus when I was working at a road house.  We used to do them every year as a benefit.  It was basically a normal show but with elephants and tigers involved.  There was no touring stage manager.  The LD called spot and houselight cues while running the light and sound board.  The MC seemed to run the show and all of the acts staged themselves.  Production manager kept everyone in line but was not part of running the show.  He almost acted like a company manager while the MC acted as the director/stage manager.

Traditional departments, i.e. props, wardrobe, carpentry, ect. did not exist as everyone was fairly self sufficient.  Trapeze artists handled the rigging, animal trainers handled the center ring and the individual acts seemed to run themselves.  There was a five person stagehand call, four spots and one houselights person.  All load in and load out was handled by the circus personnel. 

I was only acting in the capacity of the venue so I didn't get into the inner workings of the circus that much so I don't know if any of this info is relevant or useful but if you need anything more specific Iím sure someone has some experience. 

Oh yeah.  If you are working with a circus, buy air freshener.  Elephants stink really bad.  And your clean up staff will hate you when they see what presents the elephants have left them.  Oh and don't schedule a show two days later and put a rap star in the room where you had the elephants.  They will not be happy. 
Peace,

Chops

ChaCha

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 245
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://www.performinglineswa.org.au
  • Affiliations: Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Circus
« Reply #6 on: Jan 04, 2008, 10:45 am »
ChaCha

debos23

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 25
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, SMA
Re: Circus
« Reply #7 on: Jan 05, 2008, 12:35 pm »
ChaCha, that post is fantastic.  Thank you so much for the link!

d.

LCSM

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 249
  • Gender: Female
  • @LuciaCorak
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Circus
« Reply #8 on: Jan 06, 2008, 02:45 pm »
i agree. thanks so much guys! and i'll remember about the air freshner too chops! ;D

centaura

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 405
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Circus
« Reply #9 on: Jan 09, 2008, 09:18 am »
While most of the worth in this thread is via its links, I think that's enough reason to keep it near the top of the Other forum.  So its getting stickied up there.

-Centaura


Eyrk

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Circus
« Reply #10 on: Feb 11, 2010, 11:08 pm »
I am a fan for all things circus and love Cirque, here is a blog from a sm intern at LOVE in Vegas:
New Member Link: http://loveintern.blogspot.com/ [nonactive]

cschott

  • BTDT Editors
  • *****
  • Posts: 27
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, AGMA, SMA
  • Current Gig: adjunct SM faculty at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Circus
« Reply #11 on: Oct 11, 2010, 09:50 pm »
I spent 6 months as Asst Operations Manager and 1 year as Operations Manager of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Blue Unit (there are two touring units, the red and the blue).  There isn't exactly a Stage Manager, even though there's someone with that title.  Job descriptions and job titles seem to be stuck in a sort of historical time period on the circus - the SM is the person who's really acting as the TD.  The Ring Master used to really be doing the job that we would now call SM.  That has changed as Ringling Bros has tried to move more toward a "show" atmosphere (like Cirque) rather than a "circus" atmosphere.  In fact, when I was working there, we were told not to call it the circus.  I'd call to advance a venue and introduce myself as "Operations Manager for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey".

Anyway, the person who really acted most as the SM while I was there was titled the Production Manager.  He sat in the house and watched the show at each performance (that's 3 on Saturday, thank you), was on headset with the light board operator, the curtain puller (the guy who opened the main portal curtain for the performers), the Associate Production Manager, and at least one other person, though I can't remember who that was.  He didn't really call cues so much - he'd let Tom (curtain puller) know that it was time and the word got passed on from there.  The Associate PM would relay any issues to the PM, but it was really more about recording the timings and just watching and giving notes on the performances.  I took over for him a few times when he was on vacation (easier to have the Ops Mgr sit in the house than move the APM up and have to train someone for the APMs role on the floor) and it was very easy.  However, I did have a communication device challenge.  As Ops Mgr I needed to be very reachable by lots of people.  So I would have my show radio with an earpiece in one ear, my cell phone earpiece in the other, the headset over top of one of these, and then the building radio sitting on my lap with the volume at full so that maybe I'd hear it if anyone called for me.  Or I'd leave the house radio with the General Manager if I felt that was the right way to go.

So, that's circus story #1.  They can go on for hours if I'm just talking.  Typing, probably not so much, but ask me the questions you have and I'll do my best to tell the stories that answer them :)

Oh, and elephants do not stink.  They have a nice earthy sweet smell.  It's actually comforting to smell elephant once you've worked on the circus for a while.  And they are incredibly smart too.  The animals that stink are the tigers.  It's about the fact that they eat meat.  Oh, and I learned how to tell which animals had just been walking around by the poop that was on the ground.  I could tell the difference between horse poop, elephant poop, alpaca poop, goat poop, camel poop, and .... actually I think that was all of our animals (other than the tigers, who were caged so I didn't see their poop on the ground).  And finally, I'm really allergic to tigers.  Anybody else out there know your allergy status around tigers????

Likes:


Maribeth

  • Superstar!
  • *****
  • Posts: 995
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Circus
« Reply #12 on: Sep 11, 2012, 01:58 am »
A little off topic, but if you're into the circus there's a great book called Under the Big Top by Bruce Feiler- a writer who spent a season as a clown with the circus. Not much info about stage management but a lot of info about the touring lifestyle. An interesting peek into circus life and a great read.

missliz

  • Superstar!
  • *****
  • Posts: 569
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Personal Site
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Circus
« Reply #13 on: Sep 11, 2012, 11:41 pm »
A little off topic, but if you're into the circus there's a great book called Under the Big Top by Bruce Feiler- a writer who spent a season as a clown with the circus. Not much info about stage management but a lot of info about the touring lifestyle. An interesting peek into circus life and a great read.

I just started reading this! As a circus buff (who has nearly run away with it once or twice) I'm really enjoying it.
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

abhibeckert

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 8
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Current Gig: Stage Manager at The Rondo Theatre
  • Experience: Community Theatre
Re: Circus
« Reply #14 on: Dec 03, 2018, 06:42 pm »
My dad is involved in circus (though mostly as a musician) and he brought me in to work as crew a few for a few travelling shows. He doesn't like how animals are treated in circus so hasn't got involved in any circus with animals.

I think the biggest difference is the show revolves around a particular skill the talent has created on their own, it can take several years to develop a 30 second stunt before it's good enough to perform on stage and they "own" that work, taking it to various productions over their career.

If they're having trouble finding work, they'll often do small shows on their own with no production and no crew at all. Sound is often edited to the point you hit "play" before they walk on stage and hit "stop" after they walk off, or sometimes it's controlled via foot pedals on stage.

Compared to theatre the talent plays a much bigger role in deciding how their act should be done, what safety precautions are required, and often they provide their own props/costumes/music/etc especially if these are integral to the act, though of course changes are always made to integrate various acts into a cohesive show, which is where our job would come in.

My "crew" role was just setup/takedown and then during the show I was doing front of house stuff. There were some people doing proper crew work during the show but nowhere near as many people as a theatre production would have.
« Last Edit: Dec 03, 2018, 06:52 pm by abhibeckert »

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
7 Replies
5989 Views
Last post Nov 01, 2006, 09:40 am
by ChaCha
1 Replies
1469 Views
Last post Dec 10, 2012, 12:01 am
by The Intern
10 Replies
5293 Views
Last post Apr 06, 2013, 01:19 pm
by NomieRae

riotous