Coloured fanciful and utterly distorted, the window onto the world, trumpeted the circus of former glory: Let me show you the fantastical, long-necked “cameleopard”[note]The “cameleopard” turned out to be a giraffe, as the mysteries of the world moved from the ‘discovered’ realm of explorers to the big top’s window on the world.[/note] of yore; behold “300 dancing girls in entrancing revels.”[note]Ringling Brothers advertisement from 1913 in Dominique Jando, “Wonders of the World Await You,” The Circus 1870s–1950s, ed. Noel Daniel, (Germany: Taschen, 2010), 111[/note] The promise of “the marvels of many nations,”[note]The world map depicted on W. W. Cole’s 1881 circus courier sent a clear message to its readers: The circus will bring them “the marvels of many nations.”[/note] straight to your door, open up, and say yes!
“Limbo” presented as part of Melbourne Festival at the Spiegeltent. Photograph by Tony Virgo