When Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus announced its closing in January, after entertaining audiences for nearly one and a half centuries, the news barely registered a shrug from me. Between reports of animal cruelty, and a general sense that this kind of diversion seemed musty and outdated now, the timing of Ringling’s end felt wildly unsurprising.
Yet, because we’ve paid so much attention in recent years to what’s wrong with traditional circus entertainments, we’ve all but forgotten the sense of wonder these traveling shows once inspired, by way of performers doing things we can’t quite believe they can do. Circus 1903, now making a tour stop at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre, transports you not only to that pre-special-effects era – when trained circus artists used little more than their bodies to amaze and astonish crowds – but to a frame of mind that, with its openness to laughter and awe, feels a lot like childhood. READ THE REST HERE