Sunday, November 17, 2013

Finnish Diving Clowns

We took out 6 year old son to a circus show last weekend.  When you think of the circus, you probably think of circus tents, clowns, animals, acrobats, perhaps even jugglers.  For me during the last 15 years or so, circus has been defined by catching the highly unique shows known as Cirque du Soleil.  This Finnish show known as Jerobeam places a totally different twist on the circus concept.  This show which consisted of about 15 performers, focuses mainly on pool diving stunts.

All the performers in this show had painted clown faces and they were all highly trained diving/jumping experts.   The show started with a fake lifeguard trying to tie some balloons up near the top of the 7.5 meter diving block and another man coming to help with a ladder before they both plunged into the swimming pool, ladder and all.  From there on out it was a full on assault of clowns doing their best dives, falls and jumps from various different heights of the swimming pool's diving blocks and springboards.  Belly flops, butt flops, head first, back first, you name it, and they probably tried it.  Seems it was likely to hurt these clowns doing belly flops from 7.5 meter blocks, but they got right back on their feet like nothing had happened and clearly had practiced these high jumps many times. 

Throughout the hour plus show they featured many different activities including a pirate battle, lighting a man on fire before plunging into the water, a water skier and having 6 or 7 people diving into the pool at the same time.  These guys seemed fearless and at the top of their game.  One act towards the end really stood out as one of those “only in Finland” type of stunts.   One clown was dressed up in a ghost outfit and only had holes cut out for his eyes so he could see.  Essentially he was just wearing a white sheet.  The “ghost” walked through the crowd, and then climbed up to the top of the highest block.  Then he proceeded to remove his ghost sheet, which now revealed that he was fully naked while he quickly placed his hands over his private parts.  Then just as people realized this, he quickly jumped head first into the water while still holding his private parts and he proceeded to swim across the pool naked to the other side.  As he reached the other side and left the pool, he again covered his privates with his hands and walked quickly to the locker room.   This was the naked clown act known as "nakupelle" in Finnish.  Interesting enough, no one in the audience seemed that shocked and even my wife mentioned that they do this same act with each show.  I can only imagine the horror in the United States when the parents realize what is going on with their kids in the audience.  It would probably make the local evening news.   Don’t forget Janet Jackson’s famous Super Bowl nipple slip created a situation where live TV in the States is now delayed around 7 seconds.   It is just the human body people, relax!  Again it outlines the cultural differences between Europe and the prude United States.  If these things are not made into a “big deal” in the US then they are probably not such a big deal.

I thought the entire show was great fun and my son agreed.  After the show completed some of the performers hung around and my son made his way over promptly so he could shake hands with the clowns.  So, what a better way to cap a Saturday evening than seeing Finnish diving clowns working their magic in the swimming pool.  :)