This year’s World Circus Day marked over a year of life in a pandemic. Some circuses spent the holiday in isolation, some in the midst of plans for the future, and some in the early stages of getting back up on their feet. Peter Fekete, Minister of State for Culture of Hungary, offered these words of hope and acknowledgment as another April passed in tandem with COVID-19.
The motion and momentum of a backflip can neither be interrupted in time, nor in space. At most when pausing a movie. But life is not a movie, and a movie is not life. Unfortunately, orfortunately. I don’t consider the pandemic as part of our lives, nor do I consider it to be a disruption. It is bad and cruel. I believe it is a horror movie, neglecting any dramaturgy, which we have to turn off in order to be able to continue living our previous – less adventurous –everyday lives, while wishing these horrors did not even appear in our worst nightmares.
The world has to wake up from this terrible fantasy, claiming too many victims. We have to continue living our ordinary lives or start reality from the bottom. From the tip of the toes to the top of the head, from the ground to the sky. But make no mistake, the factual disruption of our everyday lives cannot be disregarded. Let us be encouraged by performing artists, who strengthened our trust in continuity by showing courage and remaining creative during this pandemic, thanks to which, we can continue the creative processes just where we haveseemingly left off. “Life is lives, and it wants to continue doing so” says one of our famous Hungarian poets, through whose words both artists and life want to send us a message.
But arts cannot escape the issue of restarting everyday-life and continuity without being held accountable! I am fully aware of the fact, that arts play a crucial role in restarting the ordinary everyday life. As sound, music, movement and vision are life itself. It is not just any copy of it,as those believe, who don’t live or cannot live with these tools of life.
Theater, music, words, dance and vision represent life. All of the ahead mentioned are united in the world of circus, the branch of performing arts with a great tradition. Therefore, the circus artists bear great responsibility when talking about the celebrated restart.
Circus represents the world of lights. After the long-long months and countless days of shadows, humankind is in desperate need of light, which nourishes us, just like it nourishes plants, and it flourishes in us the strong, green leaves of survival.
Circus is an inextinguishable beacon of hope with numerous productions being a result of unityand collective concentration: if you drop it, pick it up, if you stumble, get up, if you don’t makeit on the first try, try again – making miracles come to life is only up to you!
Circus is the alpha and omega of faith and trust, whether talking about the artists flying high in the circus dome, knowing they will land in the strong arms of their catcher and thus arriving back to safety after flying and performing their backflips, or talking about clowns stumbling in the golden sawdust making us laugh from the bottom of our hearts with their warmhearted humanity and fallibility.
If we add the component of love and solidarity to all of the above-mentioned, such as light, hope or faith, we have already reached the opportunity and responsibility of a promising restart.
Performing arts has neither come to an agreement with the virus, nor accepted the state of emergency. Neither has the circus. It has fought snarling against the many tears falling down from the circus domes. The hopes of the audiences were kept up by online broadcasts and contents shared over diverse platforms, just as promising perspectives were provided while locked down. In the metaphorically created movie we were watching a movie created by ourselves. But a wake-up is long overdue, we have to shake ourselves, step out into the light and start watching dynamical bodies and fresh faces, momentum and finesse, courage and miracles coming alive in front of our very eyes, instead of watching films.
The substantial artistic existence in real life bears real hazards – and since we are human beings, we are fallible. Someone who flies or swings, falls. Someone who catches a partner flying towards him, can miss the motion. The ring falls, the dog strays, the bird does not feel like flying, the human pyramid collapses…and all of these are human. If you fall, stand up and aim higher. If you drop it, pick it up. If they stray, start looking for them and cuddle them. If they do not want to fly, give them new perspectives. If the human pyramid collapses, build it backup, let US build it back up, us humans! Just as another famous Hungarian poet says: “This is our work of art, and it is momentous.”
If the crisis did not cause any significant damages in our arts, the resumption, called restart can only be a great success. What we have to convey to our audience is the feeling of survival, common survival. And now we are freed, let’s be free together!
I would like to express my gratitude to everyone, who kept our hopes up!
This statement is courtesy of National Circus Arts Centre of Hungary Nonprofit LTD