The Sprockets World Tour Circus has been touring around the world since 1997, and recently it arrived in Costa Rica. The family of three lives and travels in a 1962 Bristol double-decker bus that has withstood rough Pakistani roads, days of being grounded in Thai sands, the rupture of its main bearings in central Malaysia and the extreme altitudes of the Chilean Andes mountains. Yet the fantastic Sprockets circus has made it to Central America with as much splendor as ever. The European School in San Pablo de Heredia, north of San José, was happy to host this entertaining circus on its campus.
There was much anticipation among the students who had paid for this mystery circus and had caught a glimpse of the odd double-decker bus parked behind the school. It was painted bright green, with bold letters reading “The Sprockets World Tour 1997-?” Inside, one could see a rather messy assortment of paraphernalia scattered upon shelves and dilapidated cupboards, exuding the authentic aura of a circus family.
When the show began, Scott Harrison, who was born in England and has been performing since 1992, came rolling out on a unicycle, dominating the treacherous grass terrain. He hopped off when he had reached the “stage” fashioned from two tall poles with a long green sheet hanging from the top crossbar.
His wife, Isabelle Feraud, or “Izzy,” from France, quickly followed, and the loud applause from the crowd confirmed the audience’s giddy expectations. The show did not involve any dialogue, but this was compensated for by mysterious yet fitting music, which was constantly interrupted by the laughter of the entranced crowd.
The two began with comical skits that involved participation from the crowd, such as when they used children’s arms as clothes hangers. Soon they began juggling, and the act reached its climax when Izzy yanked our math teacher, Mr. Steve, out of the crowd. The two performers began juggling around his bewildered face. Then, Izzy spontaneously kissed Mr. Steve, sending the crowd into an uproar of laughter.
The performers proceeded to the diabolo, a wheel-shaped device spun on a string, which was tossed six meters high and then effortlessly returned to its string, where it circled around Scott’s legs, waist and arms. Then they abruptly tossed the diabolo off to the side and began astounding the crowd by performing the art of acrobalance.
Their bodies smoothly intertwined into almost impossible positions, supported only by the other’s arms, legs and shoulders. After seeing all of these amazing feats, the audience was anxious to see how the couple would conquer a green sheet suspended by a crossbar four meters high. We were not disappointed when Scott and Izzy displayed the art of tissu. Wrapping their limbs within the sheet, they maneuvered their way to the top of the simple contraption and began to manipulate their bodies into fascinating art forms.
Then the show finished abruptly, and the crowd remained immobile, hoping the performers would do another act.
As the crowd dispersed, I approached Scott and asked him why he had started a world tour.
“We just wanted to get out of Europe,” he replied.
It is safe to say they accomplished this –one need only glance at the map painted on the side of their bus depicting their journeys through Europe, Turkey, southern Asia, Australia, the west coast of South America and now Central America.
As students and parents congregated around the bus, Scott proudly opened the hood to reveal a weathered motor that has covered more than a million miles. And so The Sprockets will be setting out again, venturing northward to complete their world tour. Hopefully they will entertain northern spectators as much as they delighted students at The European School.
For more information on The Sprockets, visit www.thesprockets.com.
Evan Livingstone, 16, is an International Baccalaureate student at The European School in Heredia. A Canadian who has lived in Costa Rica almost all his life, Evan grew up in Manuel Antonio, on the central Pacific coast, and moved to the Central Valley for high school. He lives in Monte de la Cruz, Heredia.