I read somewhere that these lyrics depict someone leading a double life such as in an affair. Life is a circus and the seedier side of life performs at the dark end of the big top. Wearing paper masks is one mask worn for the family man/woman and the other for the person who they are in an affair with. 'Surely you could try and choose a better way to fall" is if you're going to destroy your life, there are other means to do this. This is not my interpretation, but merely what I read some years ago.