Tiny Handed Unicyclist

Yo! It’s your tiny handed unicyclist, Kevin Flanagan. Let me put some words in your head.

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Photo By Steve Sarafian

Ragtag has been a real pleasure to perform. The cast is amazing and I’m really proud of the sense of ensemble we’ve fostered in such a short period of time. It’s a really dense show, we all have so much to keep track of. But lately we’ve been getting to a place where we can take a moment to breathe instead of feeling that constant need to scramble to make things happen. Not to say the shows haven’t gone well. There’ll always be hiccups but that’s another reason why this cast is so great. We’re all pretty adept problem solvers. But I mention it to point out the difference between having a show in your head as opposed to your body.

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Photo By Steve Sarafian

After today’s performance, this will be the longest I’ve ever performed a show. It’s a really cool feeling but it presents a lot of challenges I haven’t had to think about before. Like how to keep yourself invested in the content or how to keep surprising yourself and your cast mates. We’re really lucky because our show allows for a lot of play so it’s kind of like a game every time we’re on stage. We’re constantly getting to try new things and create within the structure of the show. If you’re someone who’s come to see multiple performances then you can back me up when I say it’s never gone the same way twice. They’ve all been fun but we’ve had some drastically different shows. Let me tell you about one of my favorites.

As you may well already know, I also play music in the show. I arranged and composed music for a few of the acts. It’s nothing too crazy, it’s mostly guitar but I do play in a couple of different tunings, which means during some of the transitions I am furiously winding pegs up and down to make sure I’m in the right tuning for the next act. I use the word furiously because a couple of shows back, while in the middle of this process, one of my strings snapped on stage. I like to think that I keep a pretty level head but for anybody out there who plays guitar and has ever lost a string on stage, you know that’s not always an option. I hadn’t even thought to plan for this because it’s never happened to me during a performance, so I didn’t have any extras lying around on the set. And like I said earlier, the show is super dense for each of us so I don’t have time to fix it until halfway through the show. So I have to play a couple of the acts down a string, which I’ve never done until that moment and I’m trying to keep it cool in front of the audience, and also trying keep it as close to the original for the sake of the performers’ timing. It sounds stressful, but honestly as I’m writing this I’m realizing how much fun it was to solve that problem and keep the show going.

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Photo By Steve Sarafian

Come see me snap a string sometime. See you soon!

About the Author Cirque Us

A company that expresses the freedom of play through circus and performing arts, Cirque Us is a circus collective on our fourth summer tour. Our upcoming show, "RagTag: A Circus in Stitches" will open on June 22nd in White River Junction, VT and will tour around the east coast performing a total of 25 shows. We will use this space to engage with our audiences in a new way by sharing the on and off stage details of what it is really like being a part of a circus. This blog will document the creations, experiences, and shenanigans that are bound to occur while on the road. Thank you for joining us on this journey and we hope to see you down the road. For more information on our upcoming show please visit our website. www.TheCirqueUs.com

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