One if the acts I plan to have on Mo & Friends is The Little Man Show, which Steve and I had intended to be like a flea circus.Little Man, the main character,is a teeny little guy, so small you can’t see him, doing his thing on a wee stage, interacting with props and scenery; everything should look as if some small force is moving them around. Now, when we decided this, and I took it upon myself to research the best techniques of how to manipulate the show,I was still under the assumption that a flea circus was genuinely a mechanical marvel, made believable in the eyes of the audience by the superior showmanship of the ringmaster. Oh, no, was I wrong. Ages ago, and in many cases today,they use real fleas.
I’ve learned that since fleas live only for a short time, the training of fleas is a constant task. The fleas are trained not to jump by keeping them in a container with a lid. Once trained, they are harnessed by carefully wrapping a thin gold wire around the neck of the flea(how the heck to they do this? Are they putting me on?).Once in the harness, a flea usually stays in it for life. The harnesses are attached to the props and the strong legs of the fleas allow them to move objects significantly larger than themselves.Chemicals (such as camphor) that repel fleas are placed on lightweight balls and the fleas kick them away. This makes the fleas look as if they are juggling or playing football.
There are historical reports of fleas glued to the base of the flea circus enclosure.Instruments were then glued to the flea performers and the enclosure was heated. The fleas fought to escape, giving the impression of fleas playing musical instruments(Just for the record,I kill fleas on my animals, but it’s done quickly and to keep them from feeding off my cats. I’m otherwise not a bug-squasher.There’s something about torturing any living creature for entertainment,no matter how tiny it is, that really irks me).
I looked up some videos on YouTube, and yes, people do still use real fleas for flea circuses. I was amazed. And still, a bit disturbed.
So that was an interesting bit to find out. Needless to say, no real fleasies will be used in The Little Man Show. (This type of flea circus, by the way is known as a “humbug”.)If he is a puppet at all, he will be a teeny, tiny, itty-weensy little man figure on a stick or rod. (It would be kind of fun to try to create the tiniest puppet in existence, haha) Anyway, in my reseach I got more than I could ever ask for when I found the Flea Circus Research Page!
There are plenty of props and situations Steve and I have talked about using….Little Man gets a new car, buys a house,goes to the gym, etc…the funny thing is, Steve does Little Man’s voice and to me it’s hysterical. He has somehow perfected the art of making the voice sound like a tiny person, really far away, like down on the ground. Little Man always seems to be a bit overconfident and always getting himself into trouble, like trying to lift something too heavy, spilling something and washing himself away,or flirting with a woman a hundred times his size and getting smooshed. He’s a survivor, however, and is always back for more.
This is going to be fun.