The 43rd International Circus Festival spans a whole 11 days; eleven days just for the performances alone. That is an important period in the life of Monte Carlo. It involves literally hundreds of performers from all over the world and thousands of spectators. It’s a period of joy and excitement for thousands of children and their families. And so the Festival has a life; it is a complete society. The Circus in Monte Carlo is not a fleeting moment; it infuses everyone it touches with its spirit.
And that spirit is important to Tanya who talked to HelloMonaco at the Ecumenical gathering at the Chapiteau for an evening of prayer and celebration led by Bishops of the Church together with leaders of Christian communities and involving cameo performances by the circus performers. It was a full-house, the Chapiteau, vast as it is, was crowded with well-wishers. Joy and love together with caring for others permeate the Chapiteau in this gathering of many Bishops and the Circus.
There are three Circus acts as part of the evening. Fittingly, one is a 14-year-old boy, a juggler – still with the enthusiasm and optimism and playfulness of a child, on a journey to become a man. After his spectacular performance the Bishop embraces him.
This interweaving of Christian services together with world-Class Circus performances is a unique blend of joyfulness, entertainment and faith as the Bishops cede centre stage after each part of the Ecumenical service – this time to four youngsters performing acrobatic tricks on a pedestal. It is a captivating performance executed brilliantly to the tune of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. Circus performing like life is dramatic, full of uncertainties and danger. Dizzying heights, intricate triple somersaults that could maim, but thankfully don’t, remind us that faith and the Church guide each of us through the day’s trials, dangers and tribulations.
The Bishops and many Leaders of Christian communities all come together once a year to celebrate their faith in Monaco at this Ecumenical Circus Festival evening. It is an International Festival, as international as is the Church, and the service continues in French, Italian, in German and in English.
And again the Circus Festival spirit returns as the Bishops this time cede the Centre Ring for a man and his special companion – a horse. Gypsy Love reminds us that Monte Carlo’s Circus has always had a tradition of artistes and magnificent animals – animals are all included in our blessings and part of the richness of our lives.
Finally following the Bishops’ blessings there was a performance that stole the show, if our hearts had not already been stolen by the hauntingly beautiful choir singing. On this particular evening this “Band” had never before been Circus Stars. Even in an evening that is dominated by reverence and the Church there are stars. And capturing the audience’s attention was the orchestra of the Princes Royal Guards (Band of the Prince’s Carabinier). Looking particularly dapper in their uniforms and with their shining instruments, they stole the show in the Circus Ring, their trumpets, trombones and saxophones blaring to the beat of the drums.
Later HelloMonaco caught up with Patrick and Annabelle at the football stadium, close to the Circus, just across Monaco’s border in Cap d’Ail. They are students and don’t have a lot of money to spend.
“Tuesday evening in Monaco, can you believe it – the Circus and then followed by a friendly football match featuring the Prince’s team, the Barbarians (Barbagiuans) against the International Circus Artists. And we were touched by the Ecumenical gathering. We are not regular Church-goers but a Church and Festival together is something we would go to again. And it is all provided free!”
Did you know that some scholars believe the word Church may even derive from the word Circus – from gatherings with dance and song. The word Church and the German Kirche in turn comes from the Greek “kuriakon and ekklesia”. But in translations from Greek to Latin, the latin word Circus was part of the mix.
Back to the Future with an Ecumenical gathering with Circus acts and song in Monte Carlo.