Cirque Us

Something Different

And now for something completely different…

Alright, ragazzi, I’ve returned. This time, however, for a totally separate blog post altogether. And let me just say, I am beyond thrilled. Today, I come to you from the back cubby-area of Radici, the Italian cafe where I work when I’m at home. I’m at home because I’m not on tour with Cirque Us. I think we all know why that is. Alas.

Well, it is what it is. The tour was cancelled. But we did get pretty much all the way through our three week creation period. And even though my time with Cirque Us was much shorter than originally planned, it was still an absolute dream, and I’m here to tell you a bit about it.

To be perfectly honest, ahead of time, I was afraid it would be a nightmare. Okay, well, not a nightmare, but I must admit I was not at all looking forward to the so-called “creation period.” As many of you know, the first version of RagTag toured in 2019, and supposedly our show this spring was to be its “remount,” so to speak. As far as I knew, our task when we arrived in Lake Placid would be to watch videos of the original show, and spend three weeks doing our very best to copy it stitch for stitch.

I knew that we were going to be making our own acts and incorporating them into the show, but supposedly, everyone was to have already completed their acts before arriving. So I thought there wouldn’t be any actual “creating” to be done at Lake Placid. But I must say, as it turned out, we did not copy the original show much at all. In fact, we created a whole bunch of it from scratch. The seven of us (I am of course including our stage manager, Alex), without a director. 

This could have been a disaster, but actually, it went really, very well. We all had so many ideas, and none of them were ever rejected or put down. In fact, the opposite happened. Each new suggestion sparked yet another new idea in someone’s head, and it was in this way that we were able to build the entire show. There was no fighting, no arguing, no disagreement. Just love and support and encouragement.

I have never been part of a show creation before this one, but I have often heard from others that the worst part of a production is often that initial process. I am sure we are all familiar with the concept of “yes, and.” From what I hear, however, I fear a lot of creation processes are instead filled with “no, but.” I don’t really have anything else to say about this because I have had very little experience in the matter myself. But what I cansay is: I had a great time putting the RagTag “remount” show together, as did everyone else. We were all really happy with what we made in the end, and we were all disappointed that the tour had to be cancelled.

It was a great pleasure to do the livestream, though! At least we could share a rough draft of our final product with our friends and family and comrades. It would have been nice if we had been able to actually perform the show many times for real people in real life. We would have gotten so comfortable with it, and we could have found all the extra intermittent bits and special moments that come from doing a show over and over again. Alas, not this time around, but we did tape the show! So maybe next year we can get together again and try to re-create our re-creation.

And that’s all I really have to say about the creation process of the creation period. The rest of our time in Lake Placid consisted of eating and knitting and dog sledding and reading Harry Potter and raving about the Miracle on Ice. And all of that was just as wonderful and warm and full of love. In just those three weeks, we all bonded and got very close, and even after such a short time together, we already have so many inside jokes. I can only imagine what sorts of mischief and revelry would have come from six more weeks on tour. Maybe next year.