Her life and death in the
sawdust circle inspired
Eva is a stunningly attractive woman, whose green eyes and exotic features are evidence of her mixture of Spanish, English and Irish blood - and, perhaps more than anything, circus blood. Her suppleness in her red and white costume belies her 38 years. In the spotlight, to the stirring music of the Hippodrome’s closing theme, Time To Say Goodbye, she makes her routine look effortless.
In the cold light of a Great Yarmouth morning, Eva reveals the life of hard knocks and loneliness behind the glitter.
“There are a lot of good things about the circus,” she says in her strong Spanish accent. “But then there are a lot of bad things. It’s very tough, mentally and physically. You really have to love it to live in the circus.”
- tragic star of the
Yet, despite the scars, dislocations and operations, and the danger she is too superstitious to talk about, the modest, warm hearted performer has no intention of giving up a life she has led from the age of seven and which has been in her family for over a hundred years.
She has, in fact, just ended a nine year relationship in favour of a nomadic existence travelling all over the globe, often driving alone at night with all her worldly possessions in the caravan behind her.
“He wasn’t in the business and he could never handle me going away for months at a time. But I couldn’t give up my life. I’m still too young.”
Estimating she has another ten years of performing ahead of her, Eva says the main change in circus during her lifetime has been in the area of presentation.
“The music, the lights, the costumes are all part of the act. If I still had the wire walking act nowadays, I would present more and wouldn’t do as many hard tricks.”
|The Great Yarmouth Hippodrome|
A picture from Circus Mania of
Britain's oldest circus building where
Eva Garcia gave her final performance
It’s a good quote, and it comes out in The Stage the following Thursday. Whether Eva gets to read it, however, I don’t know.
The day after the interview appears, Eva falls thirty feet during her act. She dies instantly. In shock and grief, the Hippodrome is closed for the weekend. But, in circus, as in showbusiness, the show must go on.
Meanwhile, all along the prom, Eva gazes with a Mona Lisa smile from the gaily coloured posters that depict her in one of her poses on the silk. Her unreadable eyes silently remind us that there is no computer generated trickery in what her colleagues do, nor are the risks they take for our entertainment anything less than real.
The word bravery is bandied lightly in the arts. Often it refers to nothing more daring than an unusual choice of song. For the circus breed, it is a nightly way of life, and, sometimes, death.
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