Nestled in a corner of Phu Nhuan District’s Gia Dinh Park, the Phuong Nam Circus is hidden under a canopy of towering trees. The main facility is an old, patched-up canvas that’s seen better days, while the metallic containers behind it currently serve as the circus’ office space. During rainy season, floods put the area under water.
Being a circus performer is a dangerous profession. In addition to the high risk of accident or injury, especially during the training period, circus performance requires years of practice and dedication for what is fast becoming a meager reward.
For a few years now, performers from the Phuong Nam Circus have established a ritual: every weekend, they gather in front of the main canvas, ready for the evening’s show, awaiting a command to perform from Phuong Nam’s management team. No show is guaranteed: a single last-minute mishap, from a sudden shower to a traffic jam, could discourage audience members from coming, and the performance is over before it begins. The circus won’t be able to make ends meet if its shows don’t have enough viewers.