EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 10, 2014

Unplug for the Circus!

Long before Playstation 4 and XBox 1, Candy Crush and Instagram, there was the thrill of the circus.

Make a visit to any senior citizens’ home and you are sure to be regaled by stories laced with the smell of sawdust. Back in the day the circus did, quite literally, come to town and families gathered to watch elephants hooked to harnesses and cables raise the Big Top.

While studies of the circus are sparse and historians vigorously debate its origins, it is known that in Ancient Rome the circus was a building for chariot races, equestrian shows, staged battles, gladiatorial combat and fights with trained animals.

While the entertainment has taken a marked turn toward the civilized, it was with this great tradition in mind that I recently set off for the Big Apple Circus in Boston with some members of my family.

“The circus? Oh yay!” my daughter-in-law, Samantha, 24, exclaimed via text message when I invited her along.

My daughter Jaden, 30, a mother of two, knew that 6-year-old Ilyana would be game, though there was some discussion as to whether at 14 months Isaac would sit through the show. In a cellphone conversation we decided to give it a whirl and bring him along.

We needn’t have worried: “Luminocity” was a thrill for all three generations. Isaac even stopped trying to pull off our red foam clown noses at the sight of Jenny Vidbel’s puppy and pony shows.

The Big Apple Circus erected its tent in Boston’s City Hall Plaza to bring a real-deal traditional circus to audiences through May 11. At 36 years old, Big Apple is not the oldest circus around by a long shot. However, this act does boast plenty of draw -- perhaps the highlight of which is that no seat is more than 50 feet from ringside. That’s really close.

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