The circus has come to town, or at least it’s come to Bagni di Lucca near Fornoli, where it will remain for the next couple of days. It’s also the Circo Orfei. Not the great Moira’s, so loved by Fellini and other film directors, who sadly died last November (though not before we’d had a last glimpse of her at Firenze’s Nelson Mandela centre) but one of her descendants, Oscar. So the tradition carries on!
Although large circuses are clearly more spectacular there is a true intimate feel about a small-scale travelling circus. It’s almost like being in a scene from that classic film ‘La Strada’.
For those of you who justifiably protest against the use of animals in circuses there are some in Oscar Orfei’s circus too. But I could see they were treated as loved pets, appeared in good condition and were, indeed, asked to do very little.
After an opening which had clear allusions to Leoncavallo’s ‘vesti la giubba’ where the clown prepares for his transformation:
the first part of the show included the standard acts of juggling, high-altitude acts, fire-eating and buffoonery, especially, with a very temperamental taxi.
There was a true family-feel about the whole event and half the fun was experiencing the local children’s reaction to the events, some of which they were asked to participate in by the clown.
No-one was asked, however, to participate in this one.
I think snakes are a much maligned species and the specimens on show were ravishingly coloured but I do not feel I could share this woman and her snakes as well!
Actually, snakes are not at all slimy to the touch and the children were amazed at the smooth feel of the skin of these down-fallers of Eve.
After the show all the animals, including the unusual hybrid Bactrian-camel-dromedary and the ever surprising lamas, got their hay-worth of reward.
I wish humans would get on as well together as this sociable bunch of quadrupeds did. As for the snakes, that could be another matter, especially as far as human ones are concerned…
I remember as a child reading books about escaping to circuses by Noel Streatfeild. I got that feeling yesterday in this truly Fellinian version which was fast moving, friendly and provided a well-deserved diversion to the often entertainment-starved families of Val di Lima.
Here are the dates and times for the circus performances: