Gory days, they’ll pass you by

Brooke Patterson/ Journal Staff

Brooke Patterson/ Journal Staff

From mad scientists, to scantily-clad nuns, performers of the Boston Circus Guild showcased their annual spectacular, Cirque of the Dead. The Saturday night performance was hosted by the American Repertory Theater at their Oberon venue in Cambridge, Mass.

This time-traveling, monster-driven cirque was engulfed in Halloween themes and provided the crowd with numerous startling scenes and acrobatics that featured a few political jabs in Republican nominee Donald Trump’s direction in support of Democratic Hillary Clinton.

“[The goal of the show] was to be as gory and sexy as possible,” said performer Jeremy Warren in a post-show interview with The Suffolk Journal.

Warren took on the part as a scientist who co-hosted with his counterpart Tim Ellis and villain Michael “Mooch” Mucciolo. The two scientists acted in their first person roles, as well as provided a narrative for the storyline. Meanwhile, Mooch was battling the two scientists for center stage. The co-hosts provided the audience with intermission cues and signals to the live music performed by Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band and frequently referred to the crowd-goers as “ladies and germs.”

This Cirque of the Dead show was unique in the fact that it was one show in a trilogy.

“[The show] has to stand as a stand alone and along with remixes for the past three years” said Warren.

Warren said that connecting the plot lines of certain characters that were killed off, along with creating different storylines altogether, were major challenges.

Chris DeGusto/ Journal Staff
Chris DeGusto/ Journal Staff

One of the acts included aerial silk. During this act, performers had used their bodies, while being suspended from the ceiling on ropes or a white fabric, to wrap, fall, swing, strike other poses,and in one case, used a partner as a physical suspension. The aerial silk performers were in costumes that ranged from simple red and black leotards to creepy spiders.

When the performers were not using aerial silk, they were present on the stage in the front of the blacked-out theater. Stage performances consisted of singles and duos executing different types of burlesque and body contortion acts. One act even showcased a performer drilling a hole into his nostril while his co-performer ate scraps of shrapnel.

As the show went on, the acts only grew more gory.

Excessive amounts of fake blood were used throughout the entire show in order to remind the audience of the celebration of Halloween. Whether it was being rubbed all over a performer’s body or being poured from a bucket hanging above the stage, many entertainers used the blood during their acts.

Halloween was also incorporated throughout the show with the use of horrifyingly realistic makeup and body paint on certain performers. Aside from just fake blood, some performers had what appeared to be gashes across their faces. From an audience’s perspective, the fake wounds appeared to be fresh, but in all actuality, they were an illusion of makeup and stickers. The fresh wounds had darkened centers with light, bloody appearing flesh surrounding it. A less gory side of makeup was the appearance of tattoos on performers bodies. Again, to an audience member, the tattoos appeared real, but the tattoos were actually just stickers stuck to the performers arms, legs, and other body parts.

The Journal spoke with a background source that has been associated with the band for eight years. The source has attended every Cirque of the Dead showcase, and explained that the band started around the same time as the Boston Circus Guild. The two individual groups commonly overlap performances with one another.

The source also expressed how after each show the performers are able to synchronize and practice more with one another, adding to the uniqueness and fluidity of each production. This allows each performance to be a little bit different but better than the previous.

Toward the conclusion of the show, the hosts performed a medley of musical numbers featuring Disney backtracks with original vocals contributing to the plot and thematic ideas.

One number was inspired by the movie “Aladdin.” The popular song, “A Whole New World,” originally by Brad Kane and Lea Solonga, was re-mixed to complement the show’s theme. The original lyrics were substituted with, “We can mutate the world,” and, “A whole new guild, a corporate structure to rebuild.”

Another rendition was derived from Idina Menzel’s “Let it Go” in the movie “Frozen.” The chorus was replaced by the lyrics of, “Stop the show, stop the show. You’ll kill more people than Game of Thrones.”

Spectators eagerly joined in with the performers Ellis and Warren, singing along with the words displayed upon the set’s backdrop.

Warren commented on how his 10 year commitment with this group was in fact coming to a close. He was in good spirits in regards to the outcome of the night’s staging, talking about how he loved being one of the night’s emcee’s, but preferred not to comment on his favorite aspect of the overall production.

“When life turns into a horror movie make sure you’re the monster” was a final exclamation by Mooch to the audience that helped wrap up the show.

The closing credits of the show were concluded with a dance party led by the Boston Circus Guild and music by Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band. The in-costume crowd followed along with the casts’ dance moves and the theater turned into a giant flash mob.