Smirkus Rufus Nasus


“News 8’s Meghan Torjussen reports…”

The video is grainy and filmed on an iPhone connected to the mic held in the reporter’s hand. Wearing a black button-down dress with her hair tied back at an angle, Ms. Torjussen begins:

“Kids at the Barbara Bush Memorial Hospital at Maine Medical were treated to a performance from Circus Smirkus…”

The camera pans down and to the right and the scene in the room she stands in is made visible to the viewer. The visitor’s atrium at the children’s hospital is awash in natural sunlight. It is a big, bright and comfortable room at the intersection of three hallways. It has clean, white walls, plants in plastic containers. Under wide skylights, wooden kites hang suspended by wire from the ceiling, floating in the blue sky above and through the glass. Clustered around a pair of tumbling mats, a toddler in a wagon tosses a ball back and forth with Emma Rogers, Will McGowan practices juggling with another boy in a wheelchair. The white lettering on the back of Sam Ferlo’s purple t-shirt read Circus Smirkus.

Megan continues:

“Today, kids at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital had a smile on their faces after today’s performance of playing with juggling pins, clown noses… this is the sixth year Smirkus has performed…”

Bouncing around the room are dozens of the red foam noses sold during show intermissions. The clown nose is another prop that is an essential piece of all things recognizable as “circus.” They are plum-sized balls of foam with an incision cut halfway through them. They can be easily juggled, concealed in the palm of a hand or a shirtsleeve for magic tricks. Unlike the traditional vinyl ones that the Smirko clowns apply with adhesive, these’ are about as user friendly as a clown nose can be. Today, the Smirkos came with a trash bag full of them and that plum-sized red foam nose has a powerful medicinal effect; one that the FDA need never evaluate. It has no recommended dosage and can be administered in a manner of ways. Sitting in a pint-sized kindergarten chair, one little boy wears three – one on his nose and the others on each of his ears and his smile is big enough to light up the entire room, proving the cliché true; laughter is the best medicine. And that joy paired with professional care is a winning combination. This may have been Circus Smirkus’ smallest show, but it was among their most necessary and meaningful.

Evan Johnson, Communications Intern

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