Mesdames et messieurs, et voilà Le cirque Bidon !

Summer 2023 has given to those who live in the Emilian territories between Parma and Reggio Emilia, a new catchphrase: Le Cirque Bidon.

New for some, for others a wonderful comeback.

A catchphrase yes, but a pleasant one. Not like those pseudo-swirling melodies that cheer up our sultry days and prompt us to choose the Beastie Boys as the soundtrack to our commute to work.

For those who have not had the pleasure of enjoying his shows, this is what Cirque Bidon is all about.

It is timeless magic. The magic of a circus WITHOUT ANIMALS (except for 3 0 4 chickens and a donkey), but of bohemian artists, who I cannot tell whether they come out of Francçois Truffaut’s nouvelle vague or Toulouse Lautrec’s belle époque. Certainly, in common with both currents or eras, the artists of the Circus Bin have lightness. Not only that of the acrobats and tumblers, but also the lightness of living. Of knowing how to do without comforts, of the spirit of adaptation that allows you to sleep in improvised places such as a gymnasium, in order to bring your fire to life. In order to give your audience the emotion of an evening.

Cirque Bidon is slow: it moves with its horse-drawn caravans (at least from village to village). It travels the roads beaten by the cloak-in commuters with its leisurely gait, leaving everyone speechless. I have not heard anyone complain about any hindrances, but I have seen many stop for a photo. I saw astonished faces, open mouths and people captivated by this passage. This advance that suddenly brought back the stories of our childhood.

Cirque bidon is a repetition that is never the same. For them, each new location means moving, emptying the carriages, staking, hammering, planting, setting up, rehearsing, performing, dismantling, filling the caravans and going. Always like that, every time. The show taken on tour is the same, so every night is repeated: the acrobat, the clown, the juggler… Same story telling, same exercises. And yet, always new to the audience. I believe that the magic of the artist also lies in this: in knowing how to repeat oneself in an ever new way. Always maintaining the enchantment. Making each time, a first time.

Cirque Bidon is emotion, that of simplicity, of the ‘good eyes’ of François Bidon, the art director. A rather elderly man with a long white beard, a calm manner and welcoming eyes. He coordinates his performers, who move between suspended ropes, trapezes, skittles and vintage cars, leaving the audience open-mouthed and breathless.

Cirque Bidon is about suspense alternating with moments of irony and hilarity. One of the performers opens the evening by begging the children to keep away from the ring where the horses will be vaulting, ‘or you will be sold to the circus’; a sleepy juggler who scatters popcorn everywhere, stomps on it and then pretends to eat it; a miniature circus tent, animated by a performer, who, after disturbing a tightrope walker, eats him. And then them: those few animals who, more than performers, are clearly part of the family: three hens riding a cable on a bicycle. A donkey yawning while trying to follow Monsieur Bidon’s speech. Simple but authentic humour. The childlike humour, which, caught up in the hectic pace of everyday life, we have all lost.

And finally, I admit it: the emotion. In hearing them impeccably sing French songs, with the melancholy that only street performers can convey. To see their authenticity shine through… ‘If anyone has vegetables from the garden that they don’t eat, bring them to us. We know what to do with them!”

Mesdames et messieurs, all this and Le Cirque bidon !

By Cinzia Costi

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