Posted by: monsonmadness | September 7, 2012

The Magic Circus of Samoa

You read that title correctly. A circus. Here in American Samoa. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the poster on the telephone pole, but I knew as soon as I saw it that we just had to go (I just couldn’t let Michael in on how much the tickets cost!).

It’s ironic really. Can’t get fresh food or dairy products on this island, but you can get a circus! Apparently, the circus hasn’t been here since 2009. It is the only circus in the Pacific and visits Micronesia, Fiji, Western Samoa, New Caledonia, Tahiti, New Zealand and more, so it only comes back around every two or three years. Can’t believe we had the luck to be here for it!!!! The 22 performers tour the Pacific in their own boat, and unlike big American circuses like Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey, there are no animals in their show. The Ringmaster is a tattooed Samoan witch doctor and magician from a long line of circus impresarios. The show is filled with aerialists, jugglers, contortionists, acrobats, cyclists, high wire walkers, magicians, clowns, and fire dancers.

Of course, one of the best parts of having the circus come to town was the food! I got myself a great big “cavity on a stick” as Michael calls it. Otherwise known to the rest of us as cotton candy. Mary and Emma were too afraid of it to try it, all the more for me! We also enjoyed popcorn and candied apples. Yes, we went ALL out. Other than the movies and high school football games, this is the only entertainment on the island and we were going to make the most of it.

We thought it was quite sad that a lot of the show focused around making fun of a Samoan Midget (or little person, that’s the correct term I think). One thing that Michael and I have learned since we have been here, and this sounds like a terrible generalization, is that Samoans LOVE to make fun of people, and they are so happy to laugh at others. We’ve had many experiences like this, in the movies, at shows, dances, talent shows etc, if someone falls over or makes a mistake, the crowd is in a uproar. It reminds us of being in high school. It shocked us at first, but now we’re used to it.

It was no different with the Samoan little person. Everything he did had the crowd roaring, and all at his expense. He dressed up and sang as Elvis, he was in a boxing match, he dressed up as a woman, and then even as a baby wearing a diaper who fake peed over half the audience. Very gross but my kids thought it was hilarious.

Sadder than this was the reaction that our poor “literal” boy Matthew had when the knife thrower came out. We didn’t pick up on it at first, but then I happened to look over at him and he was just bawling. He was so sad. It was scary to watch and very dangerous, but it sent Matthew over the edge when they pulled someone from the audience out to have knives thrown at them. Obviously their face showed a lot of concern, and Matthew just couldn’t handle it. “It’s not nice. It’s mean. Why are they doing that to him? They might hurt him. It’s too dangerous”. Poor, sweet Matthew.

The highlights of the night were the fire dancer, “blue man” on the trapeze, the aerialist, and two balancing acrobats that could have given the Olympic gold medalists a run for their money. We were 10 feet away from the most amazing performers. The things they could do with their bodies just blew us away. The kids were also thrilled to stay up until 10pm on a school night, but hey, I home school and I can be flexible right? It was fantastic..and yes, I have to admit it…the cotton candy was somewhere at the top of my list.



  1. Sounds really fun!!! I wasn’t sad when none of my boys like cotton candy either!!

  2. How funny — we went to the circus last night. I won tickets to it from the radio. Jeff didn’t come with us but I took the girls and a friend. Robyn and her friend were mesmerized by it. There is definitely a certain magic to it when you see the amazing tricks the performers can do.

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