I just got back from a few days in Boston, where I provided co-commentary for the 2016 round of Circus of the Senses. Circus of the Senses is one of the Big Apple Circus’s five award-winning community programs. (The others are Clown Care, Circus After School, Vaudeville Caravan, and Circus for All.) Circus of the Senses is designed to bring the joy of the circus to children and others with vision or hearing impairments. We use a personal listening device system to transmit play-by-play descriptions of the performance, and ASL interpreters are positioned around the tent. After the show, we host a “touch session” in the ring where visually-impaired kids are encouraged to experience elements of the show—costumes, apparatuses, animals—through their sense of touch. It’s a truly remarkable, one-of-a-kind event.
This year’s show, the Big Apple Circus’s “The Grand Tour,” was an especially great production for Circus of the Senses, and I had a wonderful time with my co-commentator, Robb Preskins. Robb is a full-time entertainer, and he also works with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care. When performing with our Boston Children’s Hospital Clown Care Unit, Robb dons his white lab coat and assumes the persona of “Dr. Gonzo.”
Doing Circus of the Senses is a wonderful thrill for me, and it’s exciting to participate in the program as the Big Apple Circus travels throughout the season because I get to work with different co-commentators for very different audiences. In fact, I’ve worked with many, many different commentators since I started the Circus of the Senses at the Big Apple Circus nearly 30 years ago.
In case you haven’t seen it before, here is a photo from the very first Circus of the Senses event in 1988. My co-commentators at that event were none other than New York Jets radio announcers, the legendary Marty Glickman and and his partner Dave Jennings. The clown in the photo is Mr. Gordoon.