At 5:30 AM I woke up to the sound of an arc welder. Our back lot manager
Jesse needed stanchions for the midway and the sun was up. No sense wasting
daylight. At 6:00 I was at my desk in “the nest,” the renovated farmhouse
attic space that overlooks the entire Circus Smirkus lot site.
From my window I watch a tractor cutting hay in the field around the Big
Top. The driver is careful to avoid the tent stakes, but cuts it close
harvesting his hay. Vermont farmers don’t like to waste anything. Downstairs
I can smell pancakes and sausage frying.
The early bird’s breakfast line looks like a monk’s procession. Hoodies up
and drawn tight, the crew shuffles slowly down the food line serving
themselves. Silent, they bow solemnly over the bowls of granola and yogurt
and cereal, praying a little longer over the scrambled egg trays and pan of
When the troupe arrive at 7:30, the energy rises. The kids are still sleepy
but neon lime green socks and teal stripes can speak for themselves. The sun
strikes the top of the mess hall tent. The coaches, directors and the
production start discussing the rehearsal schedule they planned the night
before. After a brief, fierce tussle with the pots, pans and dishes
generated by the eighty five people on site, warm up starts in the Academy
Tent. Hup! Hey! Troupers. Ten more days ’til show time.
Producer and Executive Director