My (former) life as a circus star

My (former) life as a circus star

Peter Garry is a senior majoring in theater. He is from Pahoa, Hawaii. Photo credit: Isaac Fast

By Peter Garry, a senior theater major.

Hello there, my name is Peter Hernandez Raphael Garry and I am from Hawaii. I thought I would share with you a unique experience that took place when I was a kid.

When my family moved to Hawaii, it was hard for me to make friends because I was home schooled and was in the process of receiving multiple surgeries on my ankles. It was funny because all of my friends were either my parents’ friends or my little siblings’ friends; they were either grown-ups or little kids. It was fun interacting with them; they taught me a lot and they were a delight to be around.

One day, my friends’ mom, Yee, came over to my house with a big goodie basket to help with my surgery recovery, because everyone knows that candy can make pain go away. While she was visiting she asked me if I wanted to join the circus. I laughed at her and said, “Good joke, Yee. That is every boy’s dream but it isn’t a common thing, especially in Hawaii of all places.”

Well, surprisingly enough, she wasn’t joking with me. There was a circus for kids ages six to 20 about a half hour from my house. So when I got healthy enough to partake in the sweetacious events, I went down there and talked to the director with Yee and my mom. I was instantly hooked; I wanted to be a part of this awesome place. The kids were talented, fun and nice. They were also good teachers and I learned a lot from them. I would go to the circus a few times a week and practice, practice, practice. I learned how to juggle and ride a unicycle in two weeks. Within about a month I was admitted into the performing squad that actually went around performing acts at different places on the island. We performed in places like malls, stores and schools. It was a blast.

All of our performances were to change things for the better. We had skits and performances that taught kids that smoking and drinking were bad for them, as well as the importance of recycling and reusing things. All of our costumes were made out of trash and recyclables, but they looked so real.

One memory that stands out to me was my first performance. It was at the mall and they had just washed the floor so it was very slippery. I came out on bucket stilts making a steady beat with my feet when all of a sudden I was on my back. I heard a loud roar of laughter from the crowd and I realized that I had fallen. It was very embarrassing at the time, but I played it off as being on purpose. It worked because I was a clown and was there to make people laugh. They did.

The Hiccup Family Circus was a great atmosphere and I was able to pick up quite a few sweet skills that I still have, like juggling balls, fire and clubs, walking on stilts and riding a regular unicycle as well as six-foot unicycles. We became a big part of the community and I began to be recognized, which was a great feeling. We partook in local festivals, parades, birthday parties, regular parties and school chapels as well as city performances. I felt like a star and finally began to like Hawaii a lot more now that I had a group of people who accepted me and considered me their friend.

I would definitely say that being in the circus was a very positive thing for me. It was a positive environment with good people and great teachers. I learned a lot of fun tricks as well as how to be myself and go for it no matter how difficult or unbelievable it might sound. You never know what could happen and when you get an opportunity, especially an opportunity like that. Take it and run, because you may never get that chance again. Being a part of the circus for four years was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I will never forget it.

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