Thursday, March 12, 2009

What A Drag

Thursday, March 12: Jasper, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
It was freezing in my room this morning. I was in a mad rush to get dressed and get outside where it was warmer by comparison.
It was a very short 27 mile jump to Jasper, TX this morning. We were on a grass and sand lot; rodeo grounds.
Harry Kingston was on the lot this morning, so I passed the time waiting on my house by talking to him. He showed me some of his collectibles in the back of his truck. He had an exploding hammer and a huge pair of clown shoes; they were neat.
I was planning on walking 2 miles into town to a book store, but it was raining all day. I'd like to say that I was brave and faced the rain and mud with a laugh, but I was cowardly and hid in my room all day until it was time to get ready.
When I stepped outside I was greeted with this sight.

Yeah baby!
To be honest, it could have been a lot worse. The worst places for the mud were the entrance to the tent and the backstage entrances, but those were covered with sawdust and hay for the shows. I considered this an easy immersion into a mud scenario.
The only thing that made it uncomfortable was the cold.
We made a couple of changes to the gags to fit the situation. We rewrote the shovel gag a bit so we wouldn't have to fall in the mud, and we took the water out of the end of the sink gag. We figured why add to the problem and catch pneumonia in the process?
For the first show Ryan and I ran out to do warm up in our mud costumes and mud shoes. Halfway through the routine the lights went out and the music stopped. The generator kicked the bucket.
Ryan and I kept going and stretched a bit to give them some time to work on the problem. When we finished our scheduled routine, I was ready to stretch and improvise, but Casey was already letting the tigers into the cage, even though the power was still out.
Ryan and I waited for a bit to see if they were still going to do opening or if Casey was going to go into his act. I ran offstage to ask John Moss what the deal was, and just then the power came back on and opening started. By that point Ryan and I were already backstage, so we just went to the Alley to change for the shovel gag.
A little later in the show, the power kept shutting off for every act. As soon as they would get it up and running again, it would die.
Ryan and I were waiting in the wings to cover if need be, but the show kept plugging along. I even had my flashlight to use as a make shift spot light.
Finally the power came on and stayed on during Intermission. A lot of people left, probably partly because of the weather, partly because of the power failures.
There wasn't much of a crowd to start with, so it was noticeable when some were gone.
They HATED us for the sink gag. Of course, if I was cold and wet, the last thing I would want to see was two jerks hitting each other.
Between shows Ryan and I went to the Fusco's trailer for Mate, an Argentinean tea.
The second show was so much better than the first. We had a great crowd; they made performing in this weather totally worth it.
We got some BIG laughs in the sink gag, I was disappointed we didn't get to do the water for them, they would have gone wild.
Tear down wasn't bad at all considering it was raining (lightly) on top of there being mud.
Ryan and I went over to the Fusco's trailer to watch a movie since the show was leaving the power on all night. Whoo hoo!

March 13-Many, LA, March 14-Timpson, TX, March 15-Jefferson, TX


Harry Kingston said...

Yes guys what a day it was in Jasper, Texas.
The cold front came in with full force. You know everything is bigger in Texas as this cold front was a big one and is still going on with lots of rain.
And with 100 % humidity it felt really cold.
You guys held it together when the lights went out.
My idea of what happened is it being so cold maybe many trailers had the heaters on and overloaded the show generator. Then the back up generator was put on and could not take the load and it went out.
Well all worked out ok and stuff happens inlife and such is the life of a traveling circus.
My one disappointment was I had told my circus fan wife and we had all her family there from Japer and during Lovely Luawana lady the power went out to about 80 % of the act. Well there is always another day.
I had fun being interviewed live on Kjas radio in Jasper in helping explain to the locals the art of putting up the big top.
Myrna Silverlake was also interviewed on radio telling about her life with the circus and a cook on Kelly Miller.
To read the story and see pics on what went on in Jasper look up and it is there.
This day proved to all the show must go on and on it did.

melvino said...

Hee hee, now you viscerally know why we're called mudshows. On my first year on Culpepper, about two weeks in, we had a day somewhat like that. Socorro, NM I think. Not quite so much water, but remember the C&M tent leaks. And it was hailing. The great thing about that was, after that happened, the rest of the year didn't seem so bad.