The Magic Circus of Samoa

Come one, come all to the greaaaaaaaatest show in the Pacific!!!!

The crowd slowly filed into the dimly lit and poorly ventilated yellow and red big top, eagerly anticipating the first circus ever in Tuvalu's history.

Make sure to try a circus treat or snack; pink cotton candy, lemonade, or hot-butted popcorn. Only 10 minutes 'til show time!

The nine rows of bleacher seats and three rows of VIPs that surrounded the ring and faced the lone trapeze filled to capacity with locals and a scattering of ex-pats. It was clear that this was a big event. Even the Prime Minister was there.

In honor of His Excellency, the Prime Minister, and in cooperation with Air Fiji, it is show time! Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, for the first time in Tuvalu, The Magic Circus of Samoa!

Amid a shroud of white smoke and swirling colored lights, four men and four women with grass skirts and headdresses danced their way on out to the center of the ring with musical accompaniment. The women swayed their hips and the men their shoulders. The crowd applauded and, as they exited, a similarly dressed midget sprinted out onto the ring. As he swung his hips and added a catty grin in rhythm to the music, the crowd's applause became a truly deafening roar.

As the midget ran off, the large, round, bald ringleader and announcer of the circus, Bruno, entered the ring with a sparkling red and black suit. He began the next introduction.

All the way from Columbia, South America, the incredible Galvez Duo!

This couple's act consisted of the male performer doing gymnastics (handstands, one and two arms) on a vertical ladder whose height was slowly increased with the assistance of the female partner. She did this by tossing him additional ladder pieces that were then added to the top. The trick of course was that he could not add to the ladder's height with his hands on both sides of the ladder. So he supported himself with one arm as he added pieces with the other. All this was done to the accompaniment of the theme music from "Chariots of Fire."

Even more incredible, watch him come down!

Everything went in reverse, except the music was changed to the "Rocky" theme.

And now we present two lovely ladies from Tonga and a gent from Samoa. Here comes Lilly, Linus, and.....Rollllllo!

To a heavily re-mixed version of "Tequila," this trio, clad in glittering pink and gold, juggled. Sometimes individually on unicycles and sometimes between each other, they juggled anywhere from three to five pins, volleyballs, baseballs, and hoops. In the end, Rollo attempted 5 baseballs all by himself.

Let's see if he can do it!

He did, with aplomb.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, at this time, I would like to present a young lady who has practiced her entire life to perfect this upcoming dangerous trick...Seniorita Yani!

The chubby Yani entered the ring with her bikini all aglitter and climbed up to the trapeze. She then proceeded to balance on her head.

Now she will swing from side to side while balancing!

Exclusive Interview

In the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Captain Japan managed to share a few words with the ringleader of the Magic Circus of Samoa, Mr. Bruno Loyale. It was the morning after the first night of a four-night stand of circus entertainment in Funafuti, Tuvalu. Captain Japan caught up with the pot-bellied and heavily tattooed leader of the Pacific's finest circus as he enjoyed his breakfast of fried eggs and toast in the hotel restaurant.

Captain Japan: Great show last night!
Bruno Loyale: Thank you. We were happy to do it.

CJ: Where are you from originally?
BL: Texas. I moved to Samoa when I was twenty or so and have a Samoan passport now.

CJ: When did this circus start?
BL: Well, I've been in the circus for years, but this circus started in 1988.

CJ: Where do you perform?
BL: Mostly Guam, Fiji, Saipan, Samoa, and one time Papua New Guinea. PNG was the worst. We had to get out of the Eastern Highlands with tear gas. I think our circus arrived 1,500 years too early for those people. As you have heard, this is our first time in Funafuti and hopefully in a couple of weeks we will be in Tarawa, Kiribati for the first time also. This is our first time playing here because the shipping lines are mainly in the north/south direction and we can't get to these places easily.

CJ: I saw your boat at the wharf and heard about your difficulty at sea last week. Are all of the circus props and equipment contained in the one ship?
BL: Yeah, everything; tent, bleachers, props, and 31 people.

CJ: The greatest circus trick of all then might be getting it all inside the boat.
BL: [laughs]

CJ: Do you mainly eat fish that you catch on the ship as you travel?
BL: Yeah, we caught five big yellowtail this time [holds out hands to indicate about three feet].

CJ: What exactly happened to your ship last week on your way to Funafuti?
BL: Well, we were 40 miles from here [Funafuti] and the engines [both] stopped. So our batteries couldn't charge and the radar quit. We couldn't use the pumps and she began taking on water. It was knee-deep in the bottom. We luckily got the radar going again and managed to radar a New Zealand plane. They sent word to a ship here in Tuvalu saying that we needed help. They found us and towed us into the harbor. As this was happening, one of our crew went sleepwalking and fell overboard. Somehow, in the dark and open sea, we found him and hauled him back on board.

CJ: Where are you headed after Tarawa?
BL: Well, we need to probably get a new boat or somebody that can tow us. But we plan on going to Majuro, Marshall Islands. We will set up there in the supermarket parking lot. I have played in that spot before. What I would like to do is play the coastal cities of Japan. It would be nice to make some cash for a change.

CJ: Yeah, you could charge a lot more than AU$ 10 last night.
BL: [laughs] I have a lot of friends in Japan. It would be a lot of fun.

CJ: Ok, good luck in getting to Tarawa!
BL: Thank you. All the best!

Captain Japan is presently kicking himself for not asking Bruno how he managed to obtain the Mexican wolf man. Please ask Bruno yourself at

She did it, and without a net.

Amazing! Incredible! And now the grand finale, she will spin on her head while swinging!

The crowd gasped but later cheered as she grinned from the trapeze top after completing the trick.

He has performed to over 160,000 tourists in Fiji. Samoa's first and foremost magician...Mr. Villy Villy!

Yani exited. With a green glitter suit, Villy started his magic with the assistance of one of the dancing girls. She was inside a large box with her head and limbs exposed by properly positioned holes. Magically, Villy spun and moved these pieces of her body into positions that would seem rather painful and nearly impossible, especially when her head turned a full 360 degrees. At the end, she leapt from the box unharmed.

Then Villy poured a half pitcher of milk into a paper funnel where it seemingly disappeared. Afterwards, he amazingly reassembled a newspaper that he had just torn to pieces a moment before.

Put your hands together for Villy Villy! Right now it is time to introduce you to the wonderful Samoan circus clowns for their first appearance tonight...Tequila and Toitoo!

Toitoo was the midget from the first dance number. Only now he was dressed in hobo garb (heavily patched jacket, laced-up saddle shoes, white makeup, and red nose). Tequila went with a simple black suit and left the hobo look to his partner.

The crowd howled with laughter as the pair played whistles and horns. The true house pleaser though was when the pair attempted to get the audience to clap in unison. Antics ensued when one would spoil the other's clapping rhythm. Then with some more hip swaying and crotch grabs from Toitoo, the audience went into stitches.

Presenting now, first and foremost, on the Polynesian Rope, please welcome Liliana!

The Polynesian Rope has a smooth surface and is perhaps slightly smaller than an average fire hose. Liliana, with a green sparkle bikini, climbed the rope (hung from the center of the big top) and twisted and spun herself around the rope with her only support being supplied by a small black leash.

Now, a one arm swinging spin!

With one of the male dancers violently shaking the rope back and forth from beneath and Liliana grasping the rope with one hand, she spun around like a helicopter blade. The crowd roared its approval.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, when you entered the circus today, you might have noticed the separate tent outside the big top. Inside that tent we have one of the world's strangest and unusual creatures - the wolf man of Mexico. We will give you $50,000 cash reward if he is not real or alive. After the show you can see him for a separate $2 admission.

The crowd began to buzz in anticipation.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, our grand aerialists!

A ladder was suspended from the big top with a pivot point half way down. With Peter (sparkle vest and pants) and Tequila (white shirt and blue suspenders) improperly balanced on either end of the ladder, the ladder began to spin full circle. After a couple of revolutions, Tequila would strike a pose of desperation every time ladder reached the top of its arc.

Hold on!!

Tequila did his best but it all became mute when his suspenders broke. The house fell down right along with them.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, as I told you before tonight is a very special night. So tonight I thought I would perform a little magic.

A guillotine was wheeled into the ring and Bruno called a volunteer from the audience. To prove the sharpness of the blade, Bruno sliced a banana in half. Then he placed the head of the volunteer inside the guillotine's stock at which time the previously eager participant began to show a bit of worry.

It's too late now! The steel blade will go all the way through our friend's neck and reach the bottom of the stock. Oh wait, did I forget something?

A bucket was placed in front of the volunteer's head. After a little uneasy laughter from the audience and a drum roll, the blade was dropped. Magically, the volunteer rose from the stock unharmed.

I would like to give you a gift for your trouble.

Amid twirling lights and a drumbeat, Toitoo came running out into the ring dressed as a woman with enormous breasts. Also enormous was the applause as the volunteer ran back to his seat, discarding his prize.

Once again lets welcome the jolly masters of comedy!

The clowns raced out onto the ring for another act. This time, whistles and a few well placed slaps on the rear ends of the easily distracted clowns by some of the dancers resulted in bickering, accusations, and, in the end, chair throwing by the comedy pair.

What's going on!

The crowd knew. Hilarity would be an understatement.

From the remote Polynesian Islands, a most death defying trick...the sharp knife throwing of Mikar and Company!

With a dancing girl up against a wood board, the crowd counted as Mikar tossed each of the eight knives into the board, all narrowly missing her body. After a little dancing, music and lights, she left the ring and a male dancer was brought out.

Now Mikar will attempt the spinning board of death!

The man was fastened to a circular board at his ankles and wrists. The board began spinning about its center quite fast and again Mikar skillfully tossed eight knives around his partner's body. Anticipating this to be the final act, the crowd came to its feet, the applause and cheers truly appreciative.

The entire cast of the circus flooded the ring with Bruno wearing a flower skirt and lei.

May all of your days be circus days, thank you for coming to The Magic Circus of Samoa!!

Outside, half of the exiting crowd gathered around the wolf man tent hoping to take a peek at this rumored wonder. The other half seemed satisfied with the circus show they had just witnessed. I was with the latter.

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