The Carnival Show

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In a previous post, I outlined some ideas for a spoken word routine where I’d like to emulate the lyric qualities of one of those sideshow, carnival “barkers”. I’m also interested in the role: being outside of some place, pitching the sensory experience to be had within, where description is everything.

I’d like to continue outlining those ideas, this time by considering subject matter, now that I’ve got a clear idea of voice.

I left off with the question: “what’s in the tent?”. In other words, I’m wondering, what the object is — what are these lyrical words about? For example, Mercutio’s rant in Romeo and Juliet, it’s about Queen Mab. I’m not much closer to an answer yet.

I’ve kinda taken up physicalism, particularly its emphasis on beauty. People I’ve pitched this idea to say, “fine, great, but isn’t it kinda, well, UNphysicalist?” People think of carnivals, and they think of freaks, and they think dark thoughts. People also tend to expect dark thoughts from me, and that’s pretty much my fault, but it’s also why I’m trying to move in this new direction.

I try to explain that the only thing I’m interested in is the lyrical quality of these characters, because I think it can be beautiful, but people scratch their heads.

It’s as if there cannot be anything beautiful inside that tent. People refuse to believe it. They’re more apt to step right up and thrill to the sight of a fish with a human body. Will they ever be able to gawk and awe at real beauty? Can I put it there for them? They don’t want to see it, or even think it possible. They’re incredulous.

fiji mermaid the fiji mermaid

That’s the thing about a fish with a human body. Tell a person to see a fish with a human body — even if I stitched the two together, just before the show — and that’s what they’ll see alright. Tell them you’ve got something beautiful, and they’re inclined to disagree, because they can disagree. Now there’s no mistakin’ it: that’s a mummified mermaid … but that other thing, well, it just isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Perhaps what I need then is the hall of mirrors, where the only thing to see is what you brought with you.


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