This script played on CBC Radio's The Irrelevant Show. Producer Peter Brown, performer Neil Grahn and I won a 2014 Canadian Comedy Award for it.
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My Bee Circus
I would like to apologize to everyone who attended the grand opening of my Bee Circus. I wanted it to be an unforgettable experience but not in that way.
Thank you to those who showed courage in the face of chaos and bees. Specifically, the lady in the grey vest who shielded the children and the guy who never gave up screaming for help.
Many of you were excited. You arrived with high expectations of bees on trapezes, clown bees driving a little car, and a bee with a cute helmet flying out of an adorable cannon. These visions were unrealistic and I should not have put them on the poster.
Now we know better.
You came to witness the age-old spectacle of the circus with all of its precision, nifty costumes, and daring. Instead, you saw me open a box of angry bees right before the lights went out.
I was nervous in the darkness. I thought back to my pre-show pep talk. "I know rehearsals have been loose," I said with a few motivational box shakes, "but now it's showtime."
The seconds passed. I will always remember those profound first words uttered in that pitch black room...
It might have been an audience member. It might have been my own voice.
My shoulders sank, my heart became heavy and my arms and hands tingled with frustration which later I found out was the stinging of many bees.
Imagine how glorious it would have been if the bees had lit those miniature flaming hoops for the opening act! Imagine bees operating spotlights to show a jolly ringmaster bee with a top hat, buzzing a few jokes off the top. Imagine anything except stumbling blindly, falling over chairs, screaming, enduring multiple stings while Entry of the Gladiators played.
How fruitless were all of the hours I spent working, pouring my heart and soul into the design of that poster.
To be honest I found training bees to be frustrating. They were difficult to tell apart. When they did follow instructions it seemed like an accident. If a performer was mad and stung me, they would die and their knowledge would be lost.
We can all pick our favourite lesson from this disaster. God is cruel or works in mysterious ways, nature cannot be controlled by shouting, $3 for a ticket suggests a lack of planning, etc. etc. I will leave the moralizing to the historians.
Those of us who were there, who survived the ordeal, will never forget the awesome power of angry bees unleashed from a box with Bee Circus written on the side.