Author’s note: Previous VIP guests at Smirkus shows include President George Herbert Walker Bush, producers for Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus Nicole and Alana Feld, David Mamet, Julia Child, and figures of the École Nationale De Cirque in Quebec. I have two younger cousins and last night, they came to the show accompanied by my mother.
This is what happened:
WALTHAM, MA: Yesterday evening, amidst heavy discussion as to what the rest of the summer would hold after conclusion of a successful week at summer camp, Jennifer Coates and cousins Marc and Rene Larade made a surprise visit to Circus Smirkus at the Gore Estate in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Aunt Carol Ann Johnson, who was in Waltham on a business trip, accompanied the group of three to the estate and assisted them in finding their seats in the VIP section of the Big Top. Later before the show, the group of four was joined by grandmother of the Coates and Larade’s, Sally Lobo.
While on site, the party was accompanied by Smirkus Communications Intern, Evan Johnson. Speaking after the show, Mr. Johnson stated: “We at Smirkus were very pleased Jennifer, Marc and Rene could join us tonight, given their busy summer filled with weekends at the lake and the birth of their new cousin, Francesca.”
At intermission, the VIP’s ate popcorn and read through the programs, picking out faces of troupers they had seen. Rene Larade went home early due to what sources close to Ms. Larade later described as a “tummy ache.” Marc Larade finished the remainder of Ms. Larade’s popcorn during the second act.
Following the performance, the pair met with members of the Smirkus in the center of the ring and collected autographs from the majority of the cast, including clowns Sam Gurwitt and Chase Culp as well as aerialist Emily Gare.
Both guests declined to comment on their favorite acts, however Ms. Coates indicated that she thought the fabrics act was “pretty cool.”
Artistic Director of Smirkus, Troy Wunderle, also greeted the pair and autographed their program after pretending to sign Marc Larade’s forehead with the reverse end of a pen. Mr. Larade, who is not accustomed to such actions, demonstrated concern. At first, he appeared shocked and convinced that Wunderle had indeed written on him, but a rub of the forehead revealed otherwise.
“It was a trick!” Larade exclaimed, indicating at his untouched head. “He didn’t write on me!”
Both described their evening at the circus as enjoyable and said they intended to visit Smirkus again in the future. They left shortly after nine pm, citing “bedtime.”
Evan Johnson, Communications Intern