‘Do Portugal’ in Lubbock: What it Takes to Be a Circus Entertainer
Do Portugal Circus is in Lubbock from now until Sunday, June 25, with their tent set up in the South Plains Mall parking lot. I went over there earlier today and spoke with Aldo Portugal, a 23-year-old 5th-generation performer specializing in trapeze. Along with his death-defying acts, he also has experience as a circus clown.
Both trapeze artists and clowns have something in common when they perform, the entertainment factor.
While being a clown and performing crazy, death-defying acts might look nothing alike, there are actually similarities in how the performers prepare for and perform their acts.
Portugal said that viewers often assume there is no preparation involved with the clown’s work and that it is mostly improvised. In reality, there are weeks of preparation involved including planning bits, timing their performance to the music, and figuring out what bits will land the best with certain audiences. Having performed all over the world, the clowns must understand what bits will land in each place. For example, what Americans find funny might not get as many laughs in Mexico.
Think Like an Entertainer:
Another similarity Portugal mentioned about these different styles of performing is how they get into the right mindset before the show. He said the key to being a clown, trapeze artist, or anything in between is to turn your mind off and trust your training. They put their problems behind them in that moment, and simply focus on giving the best performance they can and entertaining the audience.
Challenges When Performing:
This also ties into what makes performing more or less difficult. Portugal stated that a large and more engaged audience makes performing and entertaining much easier. It allows the performers to get out of their head, because they know that the crowd is enjoying the show.
This is also why Portugal said that the comedy part of the show can be one of the hardest things to do. While the death-defying acts are incredibly impressive and take years of practice, it is up to the performer to show off those skills and rely on their training to wow the audience. For the clowns, they are relying on a responsive crowd and have to actively read what is and isn’t landing well and getting laughs, then make adjustments as needed.
Worth It In the End:
To wrap things up Portugal wants anyone that plans to come to and see Do Portugal Circus this week to know that it is a quality show that you will be very impressed with. Even if you haven’t been to the circus before, or you’ve been hesitant, he urges you to give it a try and see what their talented performers have to offer.