Update - 1 May 2019
This project started thanks to your idea of a circus underwater. After reading this, I thought of 3 things: Bioshock, Otoh Gunga and Craig Mullins. That definitely caught my attention.
Interesting enough to start throwing some concepts into a sketchbook, followed my some thumbnails:
I wasn't sure which one to choose; interior, exterior... I ended up opting for one I personally found more appealing. Simple composition (leading lines, rule of thirds...).
In terms of storytelling, I thought it would be a lot more interesting for the viewer to be on stage rather that on the terraces.
After playing around with some different color palettes for the piece, I tried to jump directly to paint (since I wasn't convinced with the variations I had).
Later on, I started developing the sketch a little more; I changed the shape of the lamps (for the sake of design, it read better to me), etc.
Artists and life shows such Jamie Jones, Sigurd Fernstrom, Circ du Soleil, and several more, have had a huge influence in the process.
It has been my intention to restrict myself (2 days) as a personal goal. I don't regret it, but I wish I spent more time with it.
I did think of a story for this piece, but I am going to let the people come up with their own, I wouldn't want to take all the magic away from it.