Down the Road

Amid the final performances, we hear about everyone's plans for the future. Many will be leaving Big Apple Circus. Some have consciously chosen a different path. Others have no idea what they're going to do next. As the trailers pull out of the lot, and the tent comes down for the last time, we join in the time-honored circus farewell: not "goodbye," but "see you down the road."

AIRED: November 16, 2010 | 0:53:11

Previously on Circus:

KWAME: Next week, I'm moving to Colorado

with Heidi.


JAKE: I feel like I'm an outsider.

I don't really fit in in the circus.

I mean, how many circus performers

are going to medical school?

Tommy doesn't have to do anything.

I like hearing his voice.

I like watching him talk.

I like the way his skin feels.

WOMAN: Tommy won out. I don't know how,

but Tommy won.

♫So here we are♫

♫It's like we never really left the start♫

♫Time heals the wound, but then there's still a scar♫

♫To remind us of the way it's meant to be♫

♫Oh, sing a song♫

♫A melody for what has come and gone♫

♫Try to convince the choir to sing along♫

♫Here's to tomorrow or whatever gets you by♫

♫Oh, la, la, la♫

♫La, la, la, la, la, la, la♫

♫La, la, la♫

♫La, la, la, la, la, la, la♫

♫La, la, la♫

♫La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.♫

Meteor shower!

Yeah! Yeah!

Yo! Yes!

(kids cheering)

♫I waved to the man with the golden baton♫

♫And I waved through the rain pouring down♫

MARK: This one will be me just not even taking off my makeup.

My car will already be packed. I'm just going.

I don't like good-byes.

♫The day that the circus left town♫

GLADYS: This is gonna be-- boom!

Like turning off the lights, you know?

Everybody's gonna be gone.

(makes whooshing sounds)

Gone. Gone.

There's no big party.

(laughs) Not very romantic.

♫But my heart almost broke when they left me behind♫

♫The day that the circus left town...♫

MAN: You know, in the beginning, I would get really close

to a lot of performers that would come,

and become very good friends.

And, then at the end of the season,

you have to say good-bye.

MAN 2: It's kind of like the last year of college every year.

MAN 3: Sometimes, you get to make long-lasting friendships

that continue past the circus.

I worked here five years ago, but we're still friends

and hanging out whenever we can, you know?

And sometimes you don't.

♫Turned me away♫

♫And away went the lions and the tigers so wild♫

STEVE: It's never good-bye for... forever.

It's just, "We'll see you, we'll see you down the road."

So you say, "See you soon," not, "Good-bye," you know?

♫And away went my very last day as a child♫

♫The day that the circus left town.♫

(muttering quietly)

So, I just got here on my Vespa,

and my power cable was stolen and replaced by a burnt-out one.

So... (chuckles)

It's a circus family.

I have really bad luck.

When I got hired,

and we were negotiating the salary and all that nonsense...

and Guillaume said, (chuckles)

"No, no, no, you've got to drive the trailer."

I said, "Okay, but I have really bad luck."

And he thought I was screwing with him.

He thought I was saying it to get out of driving.

"What, what's happened?"

There was the broken water pipe,

there was the mushrooms in the carpet, there was the mold.

I had a flat tire on my first jump.

This is the stuff we want to forget.

I want to remember the children and the ring

and the magic that is circus.

I could just take Mark's. He'll never know.

Oh, I shocked myself.

My name is Christian Stoinev and I am a comedy member

at the Big Apple Circus.

This is my tenth year.

You distracted me.

It doesn't matter.

Since I was seven years old I've been here. I'm 17.

Come on!

What the hell kind of point is that?!

Look at you?

My mom's from Mexico,

my dad's from Bulgaria,

and I was born in Sarasota, Florida.

When I say "Home-- where's your home?"

My home is traveling in the show.

College is gonna kick your ass.

I can't wait. (laughs)

CHRISTIAN: I don't like talking about myself,

but I have a pretty decent act on my own.

So being

a traditional circus family,

we could have so easily just said, "Forget about school.

"You have a decent act already. A great act.

You can go here and go there."

My parents were smart enough to realize that,

yeah, I have a great act, but you need

to have a backup plan.

(speaking Bulgarian)

You have to plan ahead, and my parents have.

They've been planning for me to go to college

since I started school,

because it's something both of them didn't do.

No, no, this is like this or this?

No. Let me see. Let me see.

There, Christian? Okay.

MR. STOINEV: Most of the kids growing up in circus stay with the circus.

Not too many continue their education.

It is hard

just because it's another step to another world.

It will be tough for him.

But it's a good challenge.

It's, it's... it's a good start.

WOMAN: There's only so long you can be a performer.

If he didn't go to school, what are you gonna do?

Work at a Target, like a lot of other performers that I know?

(lively music plays)


LUCIANO: You always have to have plan B.

You know, I lose a job,

I always can go home and cut grass,

you know, for 25 bucks a lot.


STEVE: There is no 401K.

There is no benefit package.

You're on your own.

And I'm not sure

that a lot of fifth-, sixth-generation

circus parents want their children--

as they look out over the horizon now

seeing how difficult it is

for circuses to make a go of it,

and how few circuses there are--

I'm not sure they'd want their kids to become part of that.

CHILD: I finished 021.

JULIE: So, Christian applied to college,

and he has heard from several different schools

with acceptances, which is great.

Let me know if you want to talk about stuff--

if you and your mom want to, like, go out to dinner

one night with your dad or whatever,

and we can talk through it in a more relaxed setting.

We can definitely do that 'cause I know you're stressed.

My name is Julie Singer.

I'm the One-Ring Schoolhouse teacher.

When I was first talking

to Christian about college, I didn't appreciate

that there really was a difference

between being a circus kid going to college

and being a kid from your average public school.

Um, you know, Illinois State didn't have any comments.

So I kept talking with Christian

about the things I thought about

when I was looking at colleges, like social life,

or where it is or how big the school is.

And he was, like, "You know what?

"It's totally different for me.

"I know that this sounds ridiculous to you,

"but I just want to be away, and I don't care where I am

"and I don't care who I'm with.

"There are, like, 18,000 kids at this school.

"I'm sure I will make friends,

and I just want to be somewhere."

I was, like, "You're right."

I've definitely always been curious about what life

is like outside. I pretty much know.

I mean, I have friends who are from outside the circus,

so I know what it's like.

But actually living it, I think, you know,

isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Hey, man, how you doing? What up, man?

Nice to see you. How's everything?

Everything's good. Yeah?

How's Heidi?


What? Yeah.

Did you get married?

No. She's still married.

What's up, dude?

All right, man, I'm gonna go say, "What's up?"

to Smiley real quick.

Yeah, yeah.

SMILEY: Kwame left to go live with Heidi,

and, um, I guess it was pretty early on

in the relationship, he got her pregnant.

Are you nervous about having that baby?

Nyeh... nervous?

I don't think so.

It wasn't, "Oh, my God, oh, my God, Oh, my...!"

It was just, "So, what are we gonna do?"

"I don't know. It's bad timing."

"Yeah. Are you gonna keep it?"

"I don't know."

And it's a big deal.

You miss the Big Apple Circus? (laughs)

Yes. Am I not supposed to?


KWAME: I am currently in Queens, and she is in Massachusetts.

She wanted to be in Massachusetts

when she gave birth, with her mom

and aunt and all those people.

The way that I vent,

I just... say the most (bleep)- up things that comes to mind.

And I said one thing, I guess, one thing too many.


...just taunted her.

It made her afraid that, I guess, I wouldn't be there.

So, where you staying now? Your mom's?

Yeah. That's good.

SMILEY: Hopefully, it works out for them.

I think Kwame needs to change a little bit of his ways--

the way he treats women in general.

But I could tell that he still treats her

better than he treated women in general.

I'm pretty sure he'll be fine.

I'm pretty sure he'll find the way.

I gotta go back.

Man outside.

KWAME: How are you?

GLEN: I'm sweaty and gross. How are you?

I'm all right. Beautiful.

It's been a while. Yeah.

KWAME: Endgame: a ranch.

With Heidi.

Couple horses.


the amount of time to put into making those horses

into whatever we want them to be.

WOMAN: Kwame and Heidi sent us a video

of them practicing trick riding.

MAN: What they have done--

it's, uh... you...

you have to have guts to do something like that,

because there's no mechanic,

there's not any safety, uh...

safety precautions that they use.

That's pretty cool.

KWAME: We ended up filming it.

That way, we could critique ourselves.


maybe Sultan would see it.

So, I sent word through Smiley,

which spread all throughout the Big Apple Circus.

It was supposed to be a direct message

from Smiley to Sultan, and it turned into,

"Hey, everybody, go look at this."

The original idea was:

in a year's time, come back here, maybe.

If we're not ready, we can do the little local rodeos.

It didn't pan out

because the baby came into play,

but it's still my plan.

That's pretty good.

Yeah? (chuckles)

GUILLAUME: Circus is ordinary people doing extraordinary things

and doing it in the most beautiful and perfect way.

This incredibly hard work, you cannot pretend.

You-you have to do it.

MAN: Circus means to me a place where you see

unbelievable things come to life.

MAN 2: It's everything.

It's what goes on in the ring if you're doing your act.

It's tear down, set up.

It's driving the truck.

It's being broken down on the side of the road

at 4:00 in the morning.

Horses getting sick.

The water's froze up in the... in the hose.

Taking showers with the garden hose.

To me, that's what circus is.

You have to love every aspect of it.

WOMAN: I don't understand how a person can wake up every morning 5:00

and go to the factory or, you know, to office

and sit-- actually sit-- for seven, eight hours.

Every day like this?

KWAME: It's an awesome (bleep) job.

That's for sure.

Brando, that needs to go to your house.

Brando, that is the Hooked on Phonics material

from your mother.

It's very expensive reading material.

You need to bring it home.

Brando, look at me.

You need to bring it home right now.

Not later; right now.

I'm sorry, but you need to bring it home right now.

It's my last request of you as your teacher.

Just bring the books home, and we'll be fine.

JULIE: I'm heading to graduate school.

Like, I'm heading to a totally different place

with totally different people, and I'm ready for that.

No, I'm not going to be here tomorrow.

Remember? (Brando growls)

This is my final impression of you. Poopy.

People say this is a community, but it never

was really a community that I felt a part of.

I-I am a part of the circus community

to a certain extent, but...

I mean, any, like, outsider, but especially, I think,

an outsider that's related to academia,

which is something that's...

in some ways, almost forbidden in the circus,

um, or if not forbidden, then, like, just not a priority.

Um, it's harder.

I just have to put this stuff on the ground.

So, I mean, and I'm leaving all of Christian's stuff.

I said, "You're in 12th grade. You can deal Right.

with your own... stuff." He can... he'll do his own stuff.

I had met Miss Courtney several times before,

and I had heard of Miss Courtney repetitively.

She's kind of, like, the all-star ORSH teacher,

and, like, everybody kind of

is judged based on Miss Courtney.

So... and I knew that she was

a more experienced, older teacher.

You know everybody has their own personal,

like, self-doubt kind of thing.

But she seems very interested in learning

about the kids and really excited

to teach them, and I think she'll be great with them.

CHRISTIAN: My father is not emotional.

He's never like, "Good job," or something.

And it's always been like that.

He didn't grow up with his parents, so he doesn't know

how to act with a 17-year-old, you know?

When he was 13, he came to work in America.

He didn't have his father with him.

The only times I've really heard my parents say, like,

"I love you," or something like that,

it's always been... I've been, like, at the highest point.

I mean, when I went to Monte Carlo, in 2005,

to the Circus Festival, and I won bronze,

that was, like, a huge moment.

Those are the only times I've felt

like that wants to come out of them.

(speaking Bulgarian)

I don't need money.

I don't need material reward.

I just want them to tell me something.

(speaking Bulgarian)

If I have a son, I'll definitely

be telling my son I love him more often.

And I'll be telling him the most when the times are tough.

That's when I think it means the most.


MARTY: So funny-- I-I did not remember this

until I saw the picture, and now it's, like, real easy to...


Yeah, that's funny.

Marty actually started going

to a juggling club in Philadelphia,

uh, before I did, uh, because I was...

I was busy with gymnastics.

Um, and then he got better than me,

I wasn't very happy with that.

This is just us practicing on our deck outside.

This is where we... we would practice a lot

before our coach told us that it wasn't a good idea.

INTERVIEWER: So, how are you guys feeling

about ending up the season?

It's a big deal.

Yeah... Um...

I mean, I'm-I'm looking forward to the next,

the next chapter of my life.

Uh, but I-I do have to say

that the closer, um, we get to the end of this,

the more I'm appreciating being here and, uh...

I... I mean, I could continue to do this for... for a while.

I'm... I'm ready for the change,

but, at the same time, it's going to be...

I mean, it's going to be hard to give this up.

It's been, uh, a part of our lives for so long,

and, um, I will have to... it'll be a while, I think,

until, um, I've filled

what I'm sure will be an emptiness

once I leave the... the circus.

INTERVIEWER: Um, so, Marty, how...

I mean, what are you... what are you thinking?

What were you thinking when Jake...?

I don't really want to talk about it too much.

Um, we'll see.

I mean, we'll see what happens after we finish here.

It's hard to know when you're in the moment.

I mean, we'll see... when the... you know,

when the context is different what happens.

I... something is in the water, right?


There's something in the air, and it's bubbling--

"fermentating"-- in Queens, New York.

We'll get through it.

Two more weeks.

We'll make it work.

Don't worry about it.

Why do you have to make everything so difficult?

It's not rocket science. Rocket science?

Then you do it yourself if it's not rocket science!

(bleep) GLEN: Maybe it's the humidity.

Maybe it's the allergies.

Maybe it's the pollen.

Maybe it's Queens.

Maybe it's people fighting backstage.

In foreign languages.

I don't know.

I'm not here to judge.

Or label.

(softly): I'm here to celebrate.

(drum kit playing warm-up riffs in distance)

STEVE: You and Sergio all ready for the next...

part of the adventure?

All ready?

Just starting to get organized. Yeah, yeah.


Oh, we come back.

We come back. Of course.

Well, Beth and I need to come to Paris, so...

Yeah, and we come to Sarasota-- back to Sarasota.

Perfect. Okay, it's a deal.

All right, baby, have a good show.

Thank you.

See you after. See you later, right?

Yeah, okay.


This is my last year in Big Apple Circus for now.

But you never know

what's going to come in the future.

I don't know think it's going to be with my wire act.

I don't know. I don't know.

Who knows?

There's dreams-- further dreams.

Maybe, at one point, in a couple years,

we'll have our own little tent and... you know, we'll see.

(speaking French)

Sarah and Sergio, they're going to leave Big Apple.

Me, too.

But we're going to meet in Europe.

We're going to work on the show; we're going to take

two, three, four months. I don't know.

SARAH: The idea is Sergio, Olivier

and-and me for now--

we put the show together, and we all do everything.

(speaking French)

OLIVIER: We have to practice a lot because Sergio--

also, he got to perform.

(speaking French)

We have to teach him tango.

Have to teach him pantomime.

I gonna work with Sarah and make some stuff with her.

And, uh... we're going to share

what we... what we have.

(romantic music playing faintly)

(melodramatic sobbing)


SARAH: And they'll be putting a whole show together--

us, only the three of us.

So it's a complete different position than

working for an institution like this.


For me, the Big Apple Circus was a super-great experience,

being a company member.

I could have easily done another year.

Easily, easily.

But only with Sergio being happy.

Otherwise, it's not, it's really not worth it.

(bluesy music playing)

Sergio came to the Big Apple Circus for me.

And I-I'm so thankful for that.

That we are going home is more

his decision than mine.

I don't think it's a big sacrifice.

It's not a bigger sacrifice

than what Sergio did coming over here for me

to stay with me.

I mean, it's just, you know...

How can I expect him to do something like this

if I don't give the same back?

JULIE: Remember how we each are gonna say our dreams?

I need you to put one of them on each chair.

What are we doing?

We're getting all set up for our graduation...

I got it off.

Maybe we should put this right here.

You are brilliant.

I need to get Christian.


This is not quite like every other day.

Um, today is my graduation.

So, kind of excited about that.

Um, it's not kicking in yet, though,

that this is the end of actual high school.

(quiet chatter)

WOMAN: I haven't even seen him, is he here?

Oh, okay.

JULIE: Welcome to the 2009 graduation.

We are so excited to have everyone here.

And thank you for all your support this year.

I'm going to call up each student

to get their certificate of achievement this year.

And they're going to share with you their dream.


So, first, we are going to start

with Adriano Anastasini,

who is completing sixth grade this year.


Can you read your dream?


"My dream is to continue working in the circus.

"And if I do, I will become

"ninth generation circus performer.

And I think that that is very cool."


Here you go. Adriano.



Mr. Christopher Stoinev.

He has several dreams to share with us.


"My first dream is to be a juggler in the Big Apple Circus.

"My second dream is to be a singer.

"My third dream is to be a dancer.

"And my last dream is to go to the beach

with my friends and family this summer."

Great. (cheering, applause)

Um, the next thing we're going to do

is, uh, something very special--

is, uh, Miss Jodi Green from On Location Education

is going to come up and talk about our shining star today

Mr. Christian Stoinev.

So come on up, Jodi.

All right.

("Pomp and Circumstance" playing)

CHRISTIAN: Just now, like, I'm starting to realize

how big of a deal this is that I'm going to college.

(cheering, applause)

I'm not worried about falling into too many bad habits

or bad things in college.

I think that part, I'll be fine with.

I'm just more worried about being seen as, like,

a weirdo 'cause I'm not like everybody else.

I'm very proud of you.

(music stops)

(kid shrieking)


let me begin by saying

how very honored I am to be a part of

this very special day for Christian and his family.

Christian is about to embark

on an exciting new period in his life.

Many believe that balancing on a wire

or tumbling from one end of a mat to another

is a show of bravery.

I won't argue that.

However, I think that doing what Christian is doing,

having the courage to leave the circus family

and pursue attendance at a university, could marvel

those acrobatic feats hands-down.

Let me hand you your diploma.

And I'm gonna cry.

(chuckles) That's all right.

And be the very first person to address you

as Christian Atayde Stoinev, high school graduate.


Thank you.

I don't want them to think that

we're different just 'cause we work in the circus.

And a lot of people think of circus in a negative way.

We're just like gypsies or some sort like that, you know.

And it's not like that.

I mean, we're just like regular people.

You know, it's, like, no need to, like, separate us

from the real world.

Miss Julie Singer...

I have had somebody tell me, like,

"I couldn't pick you out in a crowd

and think you're from the circus."

And that's just like-- yeah-- I mean, you really couldn't.


WOMAN: Oh, wait, Davey, Davey don't touch the cake.

One of the adults will do it.

You're to begin from the beginning like this.

This one.

And then from there, you go right over into that one.

Okay. So the dog understands

he has to do this.

STEVE: We are doing production meetings for the new show,

starting next year.

And so,

I'm here on the lot today

to see previews of some of the acts

the core company will be presenting in next year's show.

Right here. Here, Rowley, jump.

STEVE: Today we're gonna see, uh,

a presentation of the dog act,

which will be presented by Regina and Andre.

Uh, and Luciano is training.

So we're gonna see just the-the beginnings,

the formation of that act.

LUCIANO: Good boy, Sammy.

Good dog.

Good boy, Sammy.

Again, please.

STEVE: Which is kind of like, uh,

Dancing With The Stars with dogs.

Can I talk to him as well?

You do, you-- 'cause you got to say,

"Sammy, walk." Yeah.

You got to say it, not me. I'm not gonna be there.

LUCIANO: The dogs I used to do outgrew me.

And now suddenly they're doing new tricks and working with

somebody else that they never-- they don't know.

The sad thing is that I'm gonna be

in the back there, going, "Go.

"All right, good dog.

Sit. Go."

GLADYS: This is the first time in his whole life Luciano--

he's not gonna be performer.

Are you gonna find a spot for me?

STEVE: Of course. Always.

Are you kidding?

LUCIANO: I always perform, yeah.

Clowning, juggling, aerial acts.

All the time, every year.

Never stop.

This will be my first time

out of the ring.

They're very, very good in going like this.

I started performing around three years old.

Lots of compliments.

WOMAN: I think he's gonna,

he's gonna get nuts.


He loved the ring,

he loved making people laugh.

(inhales sharply) I don't know,

but he's really gonna miss that.

(engine purring)

LUCIANO: Try to survive in this bad economy.

People don't realize that entertainment is

the first thing that goes.

So if I have a chance

to stay in Big Apple for another eight months,

it's good for my family.

Hopefully, it works.

(knocking) Touch wood.

MAN: Anna Rodeon fell in the second show.

Just saw her

fall, like, out of nowhere.

She was actually knocked unconscious

by the bar.

GUILLAUME: What seems that, uh, happened with Anna is that

she basically got lost during the trick.

She ended up falling, and...

and she got hit

to the side of the head.

Uh, what I think our audience doesn't realize is that

she really is risking her life every show.

It comes with the territory.

It's always very scary.

MAN: I was there.

The music stopped and I knew that something happened.

Yeah, we're human beings, you know? Not robots.

MAN: I don't know if she's gonna work

in this... place

till the end, you know.

There is not many shows left.

JAKE: She is the

starlet of the show.

And if she wasn't able to go out there and risk her life

twice a day, I'm sure she would

feel like something was missing.

Just like I know

that I'm gonna feel like something is

missing, um, when I, uh, leave the circus.

Keep going.

This is it. This is it.

Keep prepping, just say (bleep) it,

and just roll with it.

Yeah, man. Group hug. Come on.

That's what I do every...

Let me get a group hug here, guys. Group hug.

I'm honored.

I never see you guys hang out.

Just for this one time. Thank you.

Thank you.

JAKE: My brother and I, uh,

we don't really talk, now, at all.

It's just-- absent is probably

the best way to describe our personal lives right now.

It's not bad, uh, but it's not really there.

Overall, um, we're very different people.

It's harder for me to believe that

than it is for anyone else to believe that.

I mean, I look at him, he looks like me,

he's my identical twin,

and I want so badly for us to be the same.

I just want him to be like me,

and I want him to understand me, and I...

It's an instinctual sort of desire.

It's not rational.

And, um, and-and because of, uh, that hope,

that irrational hope, um, you know,

I've done things without, um, taking into account that,

okay, maybe he is not feeling the same way.

Maybe he wants something different.

(lively music playing)

MARTY: I thought it was gonna be fine, you know?

But I knew that we had problems growing up,

and really, the problems we have now

are the same (bleep)... the same problems, you know?

And just, things don't change sometimes, you know.

And I've tried to, like, understand him emotionally

and figure out what's going on in his head, and I just can't.

There's nothing you can do.

(band plays flourish)

STEVE: It brings to the end sort of an era for them.

They've been performing together since they were

people my size.

I hope and pray that it works out for them,

but they're going in

very divergent directions.

You work in this floor like this.

Is this okay for you?

You mean out there?

Yeah, yeah, like, perform not the...

Some, yeah, you know, they always use dirt,

but after a couple days,

you'd be surprised how level it becomes.

JAKE: Right in between shows today,

completely unexpectedly and unannounced,

two of my old friends showed up,

and seeing them

has been an unsettling experience

because we worked with them for a couple,

a couple years ago in Germany,

um, and it was probably the best performance experience

of my life.

and it's a poignant reminder uh, how much I'm leaving behind

as I transition into the, (chuckles) the medical field.

If I were a person that believed in signs of destiny,

I honestly would be tempted to write my medical school

a request for a deferment because I-I can't imagine, uh...

something that could have happened that would have been

more telling, you know, in terms of...

uh, um, destiny telling me to stay in-in performance art.

You go back to Germany after this?


(acoustic guitar playing ballad)

♫They didn't have you where I come from♫

♫Never knew the best was yet to come...♫

Me and Tommy are stuck together forever.

♫Life began when I saw your face♫

♫And I hear your laugh like a serenade...♫

He awoke an emotion in me that I thought never existed.

♫How long do you want to be loved?♫

♫Is forever enough, is forever enough?♫

When our relationship started, I didn't know if it would last.

I didn't think that I would ever actually find that person

that was just gonna

take my heart and keep it.

♫Is forever enough?♫

♫'Cause I'm never never giving you up.♫

I honestly thought

that I would never be so close to someone in my life.

Not even my family, not anybody.

It's really cool.

And it will never end.

If I have to fight for it,

it will stick with me forever.

All I want in my life is him.

♫I slip in bed when you're asleep...♫

I was never really a monogamous person.

You know, like, I-I used to have a fling

with more than one person at the same time.

And I was cool with them having more than one person

at the same time.

As long as sex is safe, nobody's passing around crabs,

the clap, you know, everything's cool.

I was never a jealous person.

I've had feelings for a person, and they've had feelings

for another person, too, and it didn't bother me at all.

But with him, if I see him around any other bitch,

oh, no, I'm pulling her away by her hair.

You know? Ain't no other bitch having my man, mm-mm.

TOMMY: Forever's a long time.

But if we could do it forever, I would love to do forever.

♫Is forever enough?♫

Tara's gonna be joining ring crew

as soon as we come back from the furlough,

so that's gonna be pretty interesting.

TARA: Yeah, so we're gonna live in my van together.

And we'll both work for ring crew together,

and we both get a vacation together. Yeah!

SMILEY: I think it's great and it's not great.

Tara's a hard worker. Tara's great.

What I'm afraid of is if Tara and Tommy get

into a fight outside of work,

and then they have to come into work.

Now we have to deal with two people

that aren't in a good mood. (chuckles)

(drum roll playing)


(band plays flourish)

(audience cheering)

So, are you taking a vacation

at the end of the season?

We're taking a furlough on the 20th.


They're closing Walden and everything. Yeah.

Really, I don't know.

I don't really have any concrete plans

for anything after this. (laughs)

What do you want to do?

Good question.

How do you think you'll be

at the end of the season financially?

Problem is is I've gotten

no line, work lined up.

I mean, zero, nothing afterwards.

So the big question is what do I gotta do

to continue to get work like this

that I'm doing right now?

I don't know that there are that many opportunities here.

There is no other show like this,

where you can make a living

and continue to grow.

MARK: As of right now, there's no immediate

future with the Big Apple Circus.

So, I don't think there was ever an interest to have

me longer than just a year at a time.

I might have 17 days of work

for you in September.

I'm ready for that.

BARRY: There are a number of acts

that have come here.

It's the ultimate job in their career.

If you're at the top and you're here as a guest artist,

the next thing is not going

to be as glamorous.

Part of me wants to do a little bit of happy hour stuff.

You have to

humble yourself in this business all the time.

Plus I'm thinking about doing my own show.

Glen and Mark were invited for one year.

That's the nature of what we give to our audience.

We give them guest artists and we give them guest clowns,

and that's, that was the idea for Mark and Glen.

The intention was always a one-year contract.

But no plans for me?

MARK: There's already a clown, so...

(laughs) I don't think they're gonna have

more than one clown be a staple.

BARRY: Right now I have a contract until 2012.

I know that Guillaume's perception is

that there's a value to me here.

And when we were negotiating

this latest part of my contract,

we were mulling over

what was a perception within the company

that maybe they don't need me.

Maybe hanging their hats

on this image, and using the icon

as, you know, part of the advertising

and having my face everywhere.

Maybe it's time not to do that.

And it scared the hell out of me, frankly.

But those are great show business lessons,

and it makes you wake up and realize, you know,

everybody's replaceable.

And the other end of that is

there must be another door opening

if this one is about to close.

The gold ones? Yeah.

He moved them yesterday.

I think he put them underneath on that side.

Are you supposed to be getting ready

for Midnight Clowns?

You ready? Ready.

Where's Bernie?

He's inside.

LUCIANO: Midnight Clowns is every season.

Performers and workers-- whoever, it doesn't matter--

uh, makes fun of other acts in the show or they make

their own act.

BOY: This is my outfit.

It's you first, right? And then Christopher.

Obviously, I'm doing Jessica Nangine.

TARA: Oh, I'm so excited

about Midnight Clowns, yo.

I've been practicing.

Omar, where's Sammy at?

It's mainly, like, the parody of the

different acts in the show that we've done this year.

I'm a little nervous.

My act has nothing to do

with the show, so it's kinda weird.

It's proving to everybody

that I could be a legitimate performer.

I got the wedgie like Mark.

Like most-most years, I watch the show the first time,

and then it's just, like,

"Okay, I got something good for this."

Midnight Clowns, it's absolutely internal.

It's after the two shows when everybody's done

and the circus is cleaned,

then the workers, they come

and do the show for the performers.

(upbeat music playing)

TARA: They're afraid to, like, do some things

that we wanted to do

because, because of all the politics.

We can't be offending anybody.

So we can't have as much fun as I thought we'd be able

to have because the whole point of Midnight Clowns

is making fun of the performers.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, The Rodeo Frio.


(applause and cheering)


(whistling, cheering and applause)


(melancholy playing)



SARAH: This year it seems to be

very different people that are doing Midnight Clowns.

They have the motivations more to really perform.


(cheering, whistling and applause)

SARAH: Last year, it was more...

more party involved.

♫It's raining men♫


♫I'm gonna go out♫

♫I'm gonna let myself get♫

♫Absolutely soaking wet...♫

ANNOUNCER: Give it up for...

(whooping and cheering)

...Midnight Clowns!

(cheering, whistling and applause)

I thought it was so great, really funny.

WOMAN: Like, last year's was good, but, like, all said, like,

this one was, like...

And I've seen 13 of them. (speaking quietly)

This one was one of the best. Holy cow.

Yes. Would you like some candy?


I would.

CHRISTIAN: Midnight Clowns.

2009. "Play On."

Two more shows.

Two more, and it's done.

And now it's off to college.

You never know.

MAN: College for that... that young man, man.

Gonna retire.

Off to college!

SARAH: Where did you get this from?

Glen. Glen.

Glen, 'cause we guessed how old he was today.

Oh. 'Cause today's his birthday.

I know, but how old is he?

50. I mean, 47.


He looks good, huh?

He looks younger than 47.

I thought so.

(big band music playing over radio)


GLEN: When I'm not a clown in the circus,

I work for The Big Apple Circus

running their Clown Care program

at Memorial Sloan-Kettering,

and, uh, I'm excited and scared

about going back into the hospital.

It's hard to do the job correctly.

It's hard to do the job

with total emotional, uh, commitment,

but if you really apply yourself

and really break down barriers and...

it becomes a-a pretty monumental job.

You know, you've been flexing one set of muscles

this last year.

It's going to be hard to shift back

into... into smaller.

It's just so different than

playing in the ring.

I was watching the LaSalles juggle the other day

during the show,

and they just fill the ring so beautifully.

(applause and cheering)

I was standing in the ring thinking about that,

and the ring just seemed so small.

11 months ago, it was cavernous.

I just...

didn't think I could fill that ring,

and I still walk the ring at night when nobody's around,

and now it's... it's home.

It's comfortable.

I'm gonna miss the ring,

and I'm gonna miss playing with the kids

and smiling and doing high five

and stealing kids' popcorn and...

Gonna really miss that.

CHILDREN: This is the last!

BOYS: This is the last show

of the season.

Yeah! (whoops)

The last show the Big Apple Circus that was "Play On."

The last day Lily is gonna be here.

We can all go home. And Isabella.

Yeah! MAN: This is our last show.

Then we'll be packing up, and we'll be heading on

to Walden, New York.

TOMMY: End of the season.

We're about to go to Walden to start our two-week furlough.

And it's right back to making the next year.

PAUL: To paraphrase

Walter Cronkite,

it's been a season like all seasons,

filled with the events

that alter and illuminate our times,

and you were there.

MAN: If you don't feel a little... little element of sadness,

you probably were not a success.

Ten years.


PAUL: I've come

to a conclusion.


You can do leader band.

(laughing): Thank...

Well, thank you.

You're welcome. (laughing)

It was a... It was a year-long audition.

(laughing): Thank you.

I think I'm starting to get a hold of it.

Yeah. It's good work.

Good work. Thanks for this, by the way.

You're welcome. Run away and join the circus...

It's my... It's my pleasure. 47 years old.

It was...


He got to live an adventure.

It's been a... It's been a good season.

Yeah. Yeah. For two old guys.


Be well.

Enjoy the second half in there.

Thanks, Paul. Appreciate it. And the rest.

Thank you.

And beyond.

MAN: As soon as we're done here, it's back to the real life.

This is like fantasy land.


Thank you.

LUCIANO: People come and people go.

That's how it is, but this is my life,

and I'm part of this.

♫So sentimental, not sentimental, no♫

♫Romantic not disgusting yet...♫

JAKE: I realize how much I'm gonna miss it.

The circus world.

It's thrilling.

TOMMY: This has become embedded in me.

It's, like, from my heart.

This is where my life will end.

I just love it.

♫Let's go slowly, discouraged♫

♫Distant from other interests♫

♫On your favorite weekend ending...♫

GLEN: To perform in this ring has been such an honor.

♫That's with the fortunate only♫

♫No, I gotta be someone else♫

♫These days it comes♫

♫It comes, it comes, it comes...♫

GLEN: I think I pulled it off.

It's a great way to make a living.

♫Think less but see it grow♫

♫Like a riot, like a riot, oh...♫

PAUL: Ours is the greatest profession in the world.

We make people feel good about themselves

and their world.

They understand

that they have that ability in their lives.

Just like Sarah has that ability in her life,

or Anna has it in her life.

We each have that ability to be extraordinary

as human beings, and that's the message.

(applause and cheering)

MICHAEL: This is where you bring the best of who you are.

Circus is joy.

GUILLAUME: The circus has its place

now more than ever.

First, because it is this incredible metaphor

of survival.

Yes, you can overcome your limitation.

Yes, we are clumsy,

but if we put our mind in it,

we can fly.

We can do a double somersault with a triple twist,

and we can come close to the gods.

STEVE: I'm grateful that I'm coming back to The Big Apple Circus.

I know full well what the challenges are

for next season.

We're gonna have to get by with less,

but we're still gonna provide

this reminder to humanity that anything is possible.

LUCIANO: They are circus people,

and they give their life and their soul for the sawdust,

because it's part of not letting the circus die.

We need to keep it alive.

Just not for my kids or my family, no.

It's also for

your kids.

♫Mm, this is your town♫

♫This is your town, this is your town♫


♫This is your town♫

♫This is your town, this is your town♫


♫Time to show love, time to show love♫

♫It's time to show up♫

♫Time... Time to show up♫

♫Time to show up, it's time to show up!♫

(mock sobbing)

(laughs) Don't cry. Don't cry.

Last load out.

Load out in Rhode Island.

We're going to Walden to do squat (bleep)

for, like, six weeks.


I'm gonna miss this tent... so much.

♫From a mess to the masses♫


♫Think less but see it grow♫

♫Like a riot, like a riot, oh♫

♫Disgust, disgust, disgust, disgust♫

♫Disgust, discouraged...♫

(wind whipping)

What are you taking pictures of?

♫Maybe something special's on the way♫

♫What's all this about?♫

ANNOUNCER: Want to see more of your favorite characters

and performances from Circus?

Come one, come all to

♫I'll find a way back to you...♫

ANNOUNCER: Circus is available on Blu-ray and DVD.

To order, visit us online at

Or call PBS Home Video at 1-800-PLAY-PBS.

♫Let's get everybody on their feet♫

♫Let's get everybody, yeah♫

♫Let's get everybody, everybody...♫

♫Let's get everybody♫

♫Come on, get everybody, hey!♫

♫Come on, get everybody, hey!♫


  • ios
  • apple_tv
  • android
  • roku
  • firetv