The Harlequin

lives from the in-between and changes roles. He is neither good nor evil, not Heaven, not Hell, not angel, not devil. He refuses to decide, to be assigned and cannot be caught. Like the joker in a card game, he can be used for every move. He plays with the threads of the cosmos, is in love and lost in his mission to remind mankind that the world is not only made according to mathematical laws.

“I was good with the circus. I always practiced and I could easily do a bridge over to the back.”

Paula is my grandma and represents the beginning of this series. She is the first person in my life who got me in touch with the circus. This picture was taken in my studio in 2013. Two stories of Paula are buzzing in my head: one from her childhood and one from my childhood.

“Good afternoon, you have reached Thomas Gansch.  Please do not leave a message at this number.“

I have terrible memories of my first performance. It was horrible. My father taught me “Ähnchen von Tharau”. When I stood in front of the audience, I was severely irritated and my body didn’t work anymore. Dry mouth, wet hands. Actually, it should be the other way around.

 I grew up in a musical family and there were always musicians in our house, because the brass band also rehearsed there. So, the music didn’t come to me; it was already there. My path was pre-planned. I started learning the trumpet when I was 8 years old. My brother played the trumpet and I also played the trumpet. There was no choice.

Stage fright remains a part of the job to this very day. It helps to be well prepared and not to drink too much the day before. The trembling happens more when you are younger. With time you can rely more and more on your skills. Ideally, it’s a positive push. I think it’s like ski jumpers who win everything for two or three years, then completely disappear from the scene and never come back because the head doesn’t cooperate anymore.

The decision whether to fail or not takes place entirely in the mind.

(Thomas Gansch)

My most beautiful roles were exaggerated versions of myself. I find characters in the in-between most interesting because this gives them lots of freedom. The joker can do anything. 

I myself have never dropped out. If you assume that “the system” is the meritocracy or working and consuming, then I’m really in the middle of it. The absurd thing is; while you’re functioning massively and also exploiting yourself in a way, you’re doing a piece about stepping out of, or criticizing, capitalism. I often find it sad that you can’t get out of that kind of court-jester-function at all. Positively speaking, of course it has something to do with civilization that criticism is possible. 

(Katharina Klar)

I only noticed it three hours after the performance. All in all, I had to sit out four months and then I started training again too soon. There are still things I don’t dare to do. The accident made me realize how important the circus is to me and that my world would collapse if I had to stop. Maybe I needed the injury to take better care of myself. 

(Verena Schneider)