Here is another “throw-back” blog post from the 2020 tour that never got shared! RagTag cast member, Logan Kerr, talks about her background in circus and how it prepared her for RagTag!
“Yes. It’s perfect.” I whispered to myself, cornering a dress in a department store. I never would have imagined saying that about a simple, beige dress — but here we are. With only a few weeks left until the beginning of our residency in Lake Placid, I have accomplished what I previously thought impossible — finding a piece of beige clothing that wasn’t a long-sleeved turtleneck sweater. Which, if you haven’t noticed, is a favorite style among other beige clothing. Take a look next time you’re out shopping and tell me I’m wrong.
Looking at this dress now, hanging brand-new on the back of my bedroom door, I can already feel the nervous energy it will contain before the first show. The small snags it will endure from the wire, the excitement of performing in my hometown, the inevitable dirt from the many stages it will visit. And of course the wrinkles, from being too hastily thrown into my suitcase before leaving for the next show. All of the things this dress will go through over the next few months, I will go through the same. The same excitements, the same snags.
As a new cast member of RagTag (with a new beige dress) I find myself constantly anticipating the new experiences I’m about to have. Nervous for all the new things that I’ve never done before. For example, I have never been a member of such a small ensemble and it will also be the first time I perform tight-wire on a multi-state tour. I’ve never done a show with such a long and in-depth rehearsal period, and I’ve never done a show where everyone in the cast was born in the same decade as me.
All of that is to say: I had a unique up-bringing into the circus. I didn’t attend circus camp as a kid, or circus school as a young adult. Instead, when I was about 14 years old, I met Keith and Stephanie of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Over the years, I’ve worn many hats as a young Bindlestiff. From performing to envelope stamping, I would do just about anything they needed me to. For the majority of shows I worked with the Bindlestiffs, though, I was the roustabout. And there were so many shows! Variety shows, shows at music festivals, school shows, Purim shows, shows in the freezing cold, larger production shows, shows in circus tents, juggling festival shows, and shows in venues that I wasn’t legally allowed to be in. And at every show, there was a new experience to be had, and something new to be learned.
More importantly, somebody was there to (often indirectly) teach me all of these new things. Sometimes these things were practical and obvious: like how to hitch a trailer to a van; how to tie a bowline; or coil a cable. Other times I learned things just from watching. Things that can’t be taught with vocabulary. Like how to stand in front of an audience, or how to take a moment just for yourself on stage. How to breath, how to connect, how to be present, and how to take it all in. All of these things are forever in the back of my mind every time I step on stage, followed closely by those people who taught them to me.
In a lot of ways, this ‘new’ experience on Rag Tag won’t be all that ‘new’ after all. To tell you the truth, I’ve done a lot of it before. Early morning load-in for an afternoon show. Tearing down past midnight in your show make-up. Driving all day to get to the next performance. Mending a hole in your tights seconds before you’re to be on stage. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.
Every past experience and every person who has helped me to where I am now has prepared me for all the new and not-so-new parts of this tour. I’m grateful for their boundless love and support. I’m proud of where I came from in the circus world, and humbled now to be standing so close to the edge of something new.