In one ring was an entire entertainment, as close as could be. The tent seating five hundred, in folding chairs and on bleachers, was set up on the grass just west of the Long Performing Arts Center, with handsome views in all directions, including downtown.
A little pre-show entertainment offered a foretaste of the delights awaiting. To the accompaniment of an accordion and a guitar and incorporating audience participation, we were especially entertained by the very youngest member of the family and the circus, performing with his father and others.
Once inside, in the aroma of sawdust, there were high wires, springboards, caparisoned horses, a unicycle, a continuing clown narrative, further appearances by the tiny and charming little boy working with his father, and a commedia dell’arte figure armed with a straight pin, who also seems to be the ringmaster, rigging supervisor, and all-round straight man.
Not to be forgotten are the aerial ballet on a rope high above the tanbark or the delightful performing dogs, who took a brief rest while two chickens did a trick.
There was an opportunity to pose with the pony for souvenir photographs. Those pulled from the audience to participate in the ring were all good sports, and one young boy who came into the ring definitely displayed the talent of a future performer himself.
The most popular souvenirs were toy conga-type drums, embellished twirling batons, and juggling pins (or clubs) and flat rings.
We did not see one bored or sulky child in the audience, which was rapt from start to finish, all ages enchanted by the performances.
Let us hope that the Zoppe Family Circus returns to Austin.