Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Day In The Life

Hey everyone,

Steve Copeland here. I can’t believe we’re already a week into the month of June; it seems like just yesterday we were starting the summer season here at Circus World, and before I know it, it is going to be August 27th, and we will be back to selling pencils on a street corner.

One thing that makes the days seem to just fly by is how busy we are. Our work days are so jam packed that we barely have a moment to breathe. If you’ve ever wondered what a day in the life of a Circus World clown is like, you’re in luck! If you haven’t ever wondered that….sorry, this week’s post really isn’t for you.

I start my day by waking up at 7 a.m. to drink some coffee and catch up on what is going on in the world of social media.
Then I get ready for the day and head out the door around 8. For the next hour I run errands around the Circus World grounds to prepare for the day. The park property covers sixty acres, so I get my steps in right off the bat!
I set up the Hippodrome building for our Be A Clown show, I retrieve the costumes for our water gag, I go to the gift shop to peruse the Circus World Library discard book pile for any treasures (always at a very low price), and I pick up the envelopes of money that we use as change when we sell novelty items at the big top show as well as Nothing But Nonsense.

Next I head over to the big top to fill up buckets of water for our water gag, and then it is back to the Hippodrome to get into makeup for our first show, Be A Clown at 9:15 a.m.
Originally the show was a makeup demo, where Ryan would talk about the three types of clowns and applying clown makeup while I slapped on my greasepaint. 
However; despite our best efforts, the show was extremely boring, especially for the school groups that come in the first few weeks of the summer.
We recently changed the show to be a demonstration of what we do as clowns, i.e. hitting each other…..a lot. 
Ryan and I talk about everything that goes into slapstick comedy, like teamwork, training, and safety (the Three T’s), and throughout the show we give examples of the basic slap, pratfalls, and comedy props. We culminate our tour de force of low brow humor by performing a slap-board routine that always wakes up the audience as well as our aching joints. 

After the Be A Clown demo I have a forty five minute break which is my one opportunity to eat during the working day. I go home and spend time with my lovely wife, Pamela, and our cute kitty, Jane.

Insert baby talk here.

At 11 a.m. is the first circus big top show. Thirty minutes prior to that I go over to the tent to whip up soap for our first gag, and Ryan and I also sell light swords, coloring books, and other flashy circus junk to the people in the seats. 
I have been enjoying the meet and greet that results from walking the stands; it helps me sharpen my improvisation muscles, it helps get the people to like us before they see us perform, I get to talk to some neat people and answer questions (because I love being an insufferable know it all about circus clowns), and it gives me a chance to just thank people for being here. I think that last part is especially important, because more and more circuses are dropping off the map every year, and I think people should be thanked for spending their ever precious entertainment dollars at a circus, especially a good one!

During the big top show (which I talked about last week) we have two gags, and we also appear in opening and finale.
Between those appearances we are re-setting the water gag, I have to touch up my makeup after the first gag, and we also help with a couple of prop changes. We keep very busy during the circus show, even when we aren’t in the ring.

Once the circus show ends we go into the small tent at the front of the big top and say goodbye to the audience as they leave.
Ryan and I then book it over to the Hippodrome building to set our own show, Nothing But Nonsense. In the near future I’d like to write a few posts about Nothing But Nonsense; I was going to tackle it in this one, but it is already becoming much longer than I had anticipated!

At 1:00 p.m. we perform our comedy/musical/variety show, Nothing But Nonsense, which is our favorite part of the day. It is so nice to have a thirty minute time slot where anything goes and we have complete creative freedom over what we are presenting to the audience. A million thanks to Scott O’Donnell, Dave SaLoutos, and Circus World for giving us this opportunity…..and giving it to us again this year even after seeing what we created the first time!

After Nothing But Nonsense we have a short window of time to reset the show and then get back into makeup for the second circus show.
Starting in July we’ll have an extra hour between our show and the second big top performance, which we are greatly looking forward to. My lazy butt isn’t going to sit on itself, you know!

The Circus World grounds close at 4:00 p.m., shortly after the conclusion of the second circus show. I stop by the office to drop off money, and I take the wet costumes from our water gag to get dried. 
After that, I am done for the day!

It is so wonderful (and unusual) for us to be done with work at four in the afternoon. I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of all the wonderful things to do here in Baraboo, and just up the road in the Wisconsin Dells this summer.

Since we opened there really hasn’t been a dull moment. I can count on one foot the number of quiet evenings at home that Pamela and I have had since we started working (I only have three toes on one foot). There is always something going on: extra curricular work like fixing a prop or rehearsing something for Nothing But Nonsense, a cast social gathering like a cookout or bonfire, a promotional event for Circus World, hanging out with friends in town, or going on a date with my wife.

Despite our hectic schedule, I promise I’ll find time to keep up this blog. See you all next week! 

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