(In a rundown auditorium, a harried-looking man in the fifth row is the only one sitting in the audience)
Visionary Director: (Consulting a clipboard) All right, backstage – next!
(Two Acrobats enter from stage right, hauling a portable trapeze set)
Visionary Director: OK, what’s your story?
Acrobat 1: She’s from Germany, I’m from Austria, and we –
Visionary Director: I didn’t mean your life story, I meant what’s your shtick?
Acrobat 2: We fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
Visionary Director: Go ahead, then. And for liability reasons, please note: it’s not a gimmick – there really is no money left in the budget for safety nets.
(The Acrobats swing around for a minute, somersault through the air a bunch of times, and catch each other when they finally land)
Visionary Director: And?
Acrobat 1: …And that’s it.
Visionary Director: I will offer you my parting words of wisdom: this circus is a place of magic, of wonderment, of delight, of mind-boggling and physics-defying feats of fantasy, and you just handed me garbage that anyone with all their limbs intact could do.
Acrobat 2: (As they exit) We’ll take our amazing talents elsewhere, and good day to you!
Visionary Director: I’m sure there's plenty of room at B.B. and the Bros.! OK, who’s next?
(A Unicyclist enters the stage)
Visionary Director: Get out!
Unicyclist: But I also juggle –
Visionary Director: Unless you can also ride that thing up the walls and across the ceiling, it means nothing to me. Next!
(The Unicyclist exits and a woman holding a bow and quiver enters)
Visionary Director: So what’s your bit?
Contortionist: I fold my body up into impossibly small shapes and finish by firing arrows with my feet.
Visionary Director: I’ll bite: show me what you’ve got.
(The Contortionist does her thing)
Visionary Director: Hmmmmm… pass.
Contortionist: (Still folded upon herself with her feet holding the bow) Oh come on!
Visionary Director: Listen, this show needs zip, this show needs zing, this show needs ooh, this show needs ahh, and this show needs all that kicked up to the infinite degree – there’s a reason why this is called “Circus of the Sol” and not “Circus of the So-Far-Away-I-Can-Barely-See-It-Proxima-Centauri,” do you get my drift?
Contortionist: I also can levitate five feet mid-contortion. (Does so)
Visionary Director: You’re in – next!
(The Contortionist hand-walks off the stage in glee while a Clown enters)
Visionary Director: No clowns!
Clown: I don’t understand – there are clowns in your shows!
Visionary Director: Not obvious ones! Out!
(The Clown exits, red shoes squeaking)
Visionary Director: Next!
(A mysterious-looking trio descends from the ceiling, surrounded by silks and dry ice. After they not-quite-land, they begin performing magic tricks)
Visionary Director: Hold it!
(The three freeze)
Visionary Director: Can you all do the exact same routine upside-down?
(The three silently consult each other, then nod in agreement)
Visionary Director: Good – you can ascend from the stage and we’ll hook you up to wires during the last third of the first act. Just make sure you keep changing how far away from the floor you are at all times.
(The three nod in agreement)
Visionary Director: You can disappear now.
Visionary Director: (Consulting his clipboard again) Is it too much to ask for people to make a bit of an effort to transport audience members into a world of wonder? Performers are so lazy these days. Next!