88 -- The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine -- Thursday, April 3, 1997
The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine Thursday, April 3, 199 9B
UNDER THE BIG TOP
Captions (clockwise from top):
L Master clown Raul Castanza
mourns his dead toy elephants
in the opening act of the
show. U Snake woman Sophia
Moreno frightens the audience
with "Jimmy," the Picadilly's
resident snake. U Nicholas
Campbell laughs at a clown
act in the second part of the
show. U Clown Raul Castanza
paints Melinda Usero's face
before the show. U juggler
Miriam Moreno juggles under
the big top.
Rolling into town from Toledo, Ohio, the
Picadilly Circus set up outside of Wide World
Sports in Ann Arbor last Wednesday.
Performing in a tent for= the first time in
weeks, the performers and stage-hands found it
a welcome change from the usual auditoriums
"There is definitely something about per-
forming in a tent" said stage-hand Carmine
While a bit smaller than the average three-
ring circus, the Picadilly was certainly not with-
out its surprises.
Sporting world-class clown Raul Castanza,
the dazzling flying Estrada brothers and a host
of animals including a white tiger, a large snake
named "George," a chimp and trained doves
and poodles, the Picadilly's hour-plus show held
a quick pace.
Performing anywhere from five to seven da ys
of the week for up to four acts in an evening, the
performers have perfected their act. Apart from
their countless and exhausting performances,
the circus lifestyle is also quite demanding.
When asked where they had performed
recently, most performers just shrugged their
shoulders and reffered to the written schedule
each of them carries in their pocket.
Moreover, spending 10 months on the road
also has its difficulties.
"I have my mail forwarded to an address
every week," says Miriam Moreno, that way I
can hear from my son in college."
Most performers, however, bring their fami-
lies with them, as circus life remains mainly a
family phenomenon. The traveling troupe con-
tains both young children and grandparents,
rounding out the cast with a large number of
traveling circus dogs and cats.
During the vacation months of December
and January, many of these families return to
their homes in Florida to relax.
Moving onward to western and northern
Michigan, the circus will find its way to the
Upper Peninsula and then to Wisconsin.
Photostory by Josh Biggs