real thing would quite clearly cause outrage’ –The Guardian
being a highly unusual
and interesting spectacle for your interest and amusement
In a small shabby circus tent, a fantastic
collection of strange,
weird and wonderful puppets perform their acts in a timeless sideshow
The acts: Ivan Ivanitch’s Flying Fleas
OUR CAVALCADE OF INSECT BEAUTIES WILL DELIGHT AND AMAZE. THEIR NIMBLE
STUNNING ROUTINES ARE BASED ON THE ROUTINES PERFORMED BY 1920 SHOWGIRLS.
FLEA CIRCUS HAD A GOLDEN AGE IN THE, 1830'S WHEN L. BERTOLOTTO SETUP
FEATURING A FLEA ORCHESTRA, FLEAS DANCING IN DRESSES AND EVEN FLEAS
PULLLING MINIATURE COACHES.
FLEA CIRCUSES LATER BECAME A FEATURE OF CARNIVALS & SIDESHOWS
OUR TRAGIC CLOWN IN THE STYLE OF BUSTER KEATON. BASED ON ELEPHANT
MAN, JOSEPH MERRICK.
SAMMY WAS FOUND UNDERNEATH BRIGHTON PIER, IN A RIGHT MESS. LADIES
& GENTLEMEN WE HAVE LOVINGLY RESTORED HIM TO HIS FORMER GLORY
FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT AND DELIGHT. WATCH IN AMAZEMENT AS HE PERFORMS
“THE NAIL!” NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED & PLEASE DO
NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
Caroline Crachami, The Sicilian Dwarf Fairy
THE WORLDS SMALLEST WOMAN! THE ORIGINAL LIVING DOLL. BEFORE TOM
THUMB WAS MADE
POPULAR BY P.T. BARNUM THERE WAS THE "SICILIAN DWARF FAIRY",
BORN IN PALMERO ITALY IN 1815 AT A TIME WHEN UNUSUAL ATTRIBUTES
WERE KEPT HIDDEN AWAY.
A DR GILLIGAN, AN IRISHMAN POSING AS HER FATHER, EXHIBITED HER IN
THE EXCLUSIVE SALONS
OF LONDON. NEARLY THREE THOUSAND DISTINGUISHED FASHIONABLES INCLUDING
ROYALTY MADE THEIR
WAY TO EXAMINE THE GIRL WHOSE 19’ HEIGHT,“STRANGE UNEARTHLY
AUTOMATA-LIKE MANNER EXERTED A STRANGE FASCINATION OVER HER MALE
ALREADY WORN OUT BY MONTHS OF BEING GAWPED AT, SHE DIED IN JUNE
BEING TAKEN FROM HER ROOM EXHAUSTED BY 200 VISITS IN ONE DAY ANDSUFFERING
HER SKELETON IS STILL ON DISPLAY AT THE HUNTERIAN MUSEUM IN LINCOLN’S
INN FIELDS, LONDON.
The Fiji Mermaid
IN OUR AQUATIC WATER EXTRAVAGANZA!
HALF MONKEY HALF FISH THESE EXOTIC WONDERS WERE RIPLEY & BARNUM’S
SAID TO BE EFFIGIES FOUND ON THE FIJI ISLANDS, WE HAVE THE ONLY
THE DEEP SEA DIVA, PERFORMING FOR YOUR OPERATIC DELIGHT, AN ARIA
FROM ‘MADAM BUTTERFLY!’
Chang & Eng, The Siamese Twins
BORN IN 1829 & DISCOVERED BY A SCOTTS MERCHANT THEY FOUND FAME
& FORTUNE IN IN
AMERICA TOURING AS “THE UNITED BROTHERS” A BUSINESS
PARTNERSHIP WITH BARNUM
TURNED SOUR AND THEY MANAGED THEMSELVES ONCE MORE. THEY MARRIED
SISTERS & FATHERED 21 CHILDREN. CHANG THE ALCOHOLIC DIED IN
1874 & WITHIN
4 HOURS ENG JOINED HIM IN DEATH.
Josephine, the Amazing Rubber Lady BORN IN POVERTY IN AMERICA, SHE TRAVELLED TO PARIS.
SHE BECAME AN OVERNIGHT SENSATION DANCING IN LA FOLIE DU JOUR AND
LA REVUE NEGRE. MIXING THE ELASTICITY OF HER DANCE WITH CLASSIC
COMIC TIMING, SHE WAS ALSO A SENSATIONAL SINGER.
IN WW2 SHE WORKED FOR THE RESISTANCE & ADOPTED A TRIBE OF RAINBOW
These extraordinary characters are based on real life and imaginary
men and women from the past and far from the ordinary. DNA have
researched the phenomenon of the fairground sideshow, which provided
both a refuge and a centre of exploitation for a variety of characters
who for various reasons courted publicity. Some were ruthlessly
exploited by relatives and showmen for a fast profit; others chose
the course of the public spectacle as a way of turning their uniqueness
into an advantage. The hardship of the travelling fair exposed both
the strength and vulnerability of these people, and provided both
a freedom and an imprisonment.
The circus tent that frames the action is the perfect metaphor for
the dilemma of the show presented in ‘Skin Deep Circus’.
Appearing to be a protection and a framework, it is a flimsy construct,
easily torn apart by outside elements, exposing the sheltering inhabitants
to the unknown forces in the big wide world. Would they be strong
enough to survive?
This production previewed
at the BAC Visual Theatre Festival 1999, London
with a small-scale intimate performance to an audience of twenty
five in a tent. Development since has included touring to international
festivals and a comprehensive education programme. Further development
of this performance took place in February 2002 at the Horse and
Bamboo centre, Rossendale Lancs. Bob Frith, Artistic Director of
Horse and Bamboo, directed the development, resulting in a national
tour in October 2002 culminating in a special performance in the
Fellows Room of the Science Museum, London, as part of their Naked
Science Season supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Since then, the performance
has developed into a 20min sideshow that creates a unique atmosphere
wherever it goes, outdoors in it's own bespoke weatherproof marquee
or as a short performance for events. This performance has featured
at the Xtrax
Garden of Delights, Manchester, and National Theatre
London as part of the 'Watch
this Space' season in 2004
In Summer 2007, we
were proud to present this performance at the Aarhus
Puppeteers: Rachel Riggs,
Adam Bennett, Gaby Parker / Jonny Dixon
Musician/Ringmaster: Danny Schlesinger/ Sian de Lier
Design/Puppets: Teresa Grimaldi, Rachel Riggs, Gaby Parker
Video: Rosa Parkin
Originally devised by the company
For ages 12 and upwards
street events, fairgrounds, victorian events, outdoor events,
"inhabits territory between Todd Brownings 'Freaks',
early Blackpool promenade sideshows and the Elephant Man...A thought
provoking and disturbing exercise in modern puppetry" The Stage