YOU might have seen Cesar Martinez.
He’s the clown who this week has been entertaining hundreds of shoppers on Fargate. He unicycles, he juggles, he makes strange things with balloons.
And he’s here in Sheffield – 7,000 miles from his hometown of Santiago, Chile – because of a Pitsmoor lass.
That’s Jenny Orrell who, despite the fact Cesar couldn’t speak English and she couldn’t speak Spanish, interrupted his circus routine four years ago in Rome to ask for directions. They had no idea what each other was saying but ‘spoke’ using pictures.
Now the pair are married, living in Abbeyfield Road, Pitsmoor – and Sheffield has gained a spectacular street performer into the bargain.
“He was juggling for cars at traffic lights and I was looking to find somewhere to learn trapeze,” says Jenny, 24, who was travelling at the time.
She thinks for a second.
“It was quite unusual I suppose – especially because we didn’t know what each other was saying but I guess it was love at first sight.”
It was only Cesar’s first week in Europe.
Before that the 29-year-old had travelled round his native South America performing with circuses. He still recalls telling his parents – a shop owner and a driver – he was leaving home to become a clown. Their reaction was simple: couldn’t you just become an engineer like your brother?
“They weren’t happy at first because they expected me to go to uni but this is what I loved doing,” he says, now fully fluent in English.
“They’re happier about it now, though. They know I’m happy, I love my freedom and I earn an OK living. I was always a little naughty at school and tricks were a way of impressing people.”
After touring Brazil and Argentina, he came to Europe in 2007, where he promptly met Jenny.
The two swapped email addresses after their brief road-side chat but by the time she wrote, he’d moved on to Greece.
Jenny, a former Abbeydale Grange pupil, takes up the story: “It was a year before we ended up meeting when we were both in Berlin for the summer. Even then we couldn’t really speak each other’s language but we both knew a little Italian so we got by.”
Indeed, they got by so well, they haven’t looked back since.
In August last year they married – in Copenhagen, just to add another country into the mix – and in September they moved back to South Yorkshire so Jenny could take up a place studying languages at Manchester University.
Cesar, meanwhile, has done a course at Sheffield’s famous Greentop Circus school, worked on a couple of new routines and busied himself doing corporate events.
“Now the sun’s here, though, I’ll be doing what I love the best and taking to the city centre,” he says.
It’s there, as the marvellous Senior Mostacho, he’s been impressing onlookers this week – although that unicycle looks a little dangerous...
“I fell off once during a show,” he says. “I cracked my arm but that was a long time ago - it was too painful to let it happen again.”
The pair are off to Europe later in the summer for the festival season so catch Cesar while you can.
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