Chinese Lions

Went to see the amazing Chinese State Circus today, courtesy of Mom and Dad (thanks, Mom!). We had a fantastic time… my favorite was the chinese lions that appeared just before the break (one of them was wiggling their “tails” just like a puppy, and you could tell he *really* wanted the ball – i wanted to run up onto the stage and scratch his head!) but i also loved the 2 chefs.

the chefsOne of their “tricks” was to make a plate spin on a fish slice, then he put a spoon in his mouth and balance the fish slice on something else on the spoon and the whole thing was going round and round! Quite amazing.



Through the Hoops

Before that though was the “Hoop Diving” – an acrobatic troupe of men jumping, diving, bending through hoops at various heights, hoops going around (vertically on the floor i mean) … i hate to use the word amazing again but it was, it really was.

Human Chandelier 2Human ChandelierAfter a break (surrounded by irritating children, arrggh) the show continued – it included the HumanChandelier who was absolutely amazing, she bent her body into the most incredible positions. I have to say, watching her I was praying for her not to drop the chandeliers (that you can see in the pictures) but at the same time i had to admire the poise and grace she displayed. quite incredible.

Shaolin WarriorsAt various points throughout the show the Shaolin Wu Shu Warriors put on different displays of strength. From breaking bricks over one guys head, through to breaking a concrete floor tile on another guy’s chest (while this guy was resting on a box of doublesided nails, leaning on another guy’s chest, and that guy was lying on three giant swords – the business side up!), to another Warrior who rested the point end of 2 spears against his throat, then with 2 other Warriors bracing the other ends with their feet, pushed down so the spears were bent, then someone rested a concrete slab on his back and broke it with the swing of a hammer.. ouch.

Shaolin Warriors 2 There were also wonderful displays of .. well it wasn’t dancing but it felt like that, lightning fast movements with swords and spears and other implements, you literally couldn’t take your eyes off the stage. the only slightly negative part was the jar juggling… twice they dropped the jars, but even that wasn’t really negative, because it was testament really to the difficulty of the juggling – we’re not talking jam jars, but huge big jars of the type you grow plants in! it must have been embarrassing for them though – i hope they weren’t affected by it otherwise.

I have to say also: Mom had pointed out that there was a loop system in the theatre, and i know from experience that using that sometimes means special equipment. So once there i tried to track down the right person, and once i’d found her (she wasn’t at the info desk like box office said they were) she confirmed (in pretty good sign language no less – although that was the only slightly negative point for me, her assumption that i would communicate through sign language once i’d identified myself as being deaf – and i did so in spoken english, sorry, but of the deaf population in the UK, a relatively small amount are actually sign language users – but thats a rant for another day*) that i needed a special bit of equipment and went off to get it.

When she came back it was a small bit of wire which went round my neck, and a contraption at the bottom of that, quite small, that had to face the theatre. i have to say it was fantastic, i actually had to turn the sound down during the performance, which is rare – i’m usually turning my hearing aids up! – if i go to the theatre again, i’m definetly asking for it again. It was great, i could even make out a few words in the voice over during the performance, and that was through pretty loud music (which is rare for me). Didn’t understand much of what was said, but that was okay – it was a visual spectacular, and i enjoyed the music even if i didn’t get all the nuts n bolts of exactly what i was seeing. I returned the contraption to her after the show and she pointed me towards some sign-translated performances for the future, which was lovely of her, although, to be honest, i was more interested in some of the musical ones! Mozart’s The Magic Flute is on soon, and a circus musical called “Eclipse” which i think mom might enjoy – i might see if she wants to come up for that.

All in all a highly enjoyable afternoon – my thanks to Mom and Dad!

* ok. i got to clarify this part. I don’t have a problem with the sign language – quite the contrary, i applaud it, its great and i know many deaf people will be very grateful for it. What got me was her assumption that i would sign, even after i asked her in spoken english (and those who know me will testify that if i don’t identify as being deaf, and my hearing aids aren’t visible, there aren’t many who can tell – as long as i keep up with the conversation of course!) for the loop, even after i continued to speak to her in spoken english, and even after i told her that Michiel was hearing so he wouldn’t require a loop – throughout, she continued to use sign language, which i thought was quite rude, as it excluded Michiel (i don’t know how much he understood, only following half a conversation!).

this is all because of the disabilities legislation, and while i applaud it, The Lowry does need to know that by persisting to use sign language in this way they actively run the risk of offending some deaf people who aren’t sign language users, especially older people (like my grandad, who, although didn’t use a loop, i can imagine actually muttering about not doing with this waving hands in the air business).