By Katie Lovett
---- — Take a trip to this circus this weekend without leaving Newburyport.
The Firehouse Center for the Arts is teaming up with Theater Workshop and co-producing “Circus-O-Scenario,” a new play written and directed by the theater program’s Stacey April Fix. Performances are scheduled for Friday through Sunday.
Designed for school aged children, the young cast will tell the story of Bobo the clown, “a poet and romantic whose station in life is reason for his self-doubt. Finding himself in a love triangle, Bobo is taken advantage of by the handsome and shallow Ring Master who intimidates Bobo into writing love letters to the beautiful Priscilla, the high wire aerialist, on behalf of the Ring Master.”
“The characters are just so whimsical and so vibrant in the show,” Fix said this week. “If your child is in school, this show will suit them. This is a wonderful opportunity for family theater. It is truly designed to please audiences of all ages.”
The foundation for the hour-long show first began to form more than a decade ago, as Fix was working with students in her summer theater workshop program. As part of one exercise, the kids had to write letters to one another as their characters. Fix took those letters and used them to create a short play at the time, but once camp was over, she didn’t put the material away. She took that script and further developed the plot line and the characters.
“Circus-O-Scenario” is the result. As part of her inspiration, Fix turned to the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, the French dramatist who was featured in a play by poet Edmond Rostand. Rostand wrote of de Bergerac’s love for a woman named Roxane, and how he courted her on behalf of a less articulate friend.
The show is a perfect family outing for Valentine’s Day, Fix said.
As the story unfolds, the cast, who range in age from second grade through high school, will recreate circus acts, as well. With the majority of the cast being middle school students, the kids will entertain the audience by juggling and acrobatics. There will be an appearance by a unicycle rider, as well as a brief magic act, Fix added. The actors and actresses will be dressed in colorful costumes, designed by Lola Knight of Newbury.
The cast includes: Erik March, Sean Denner, Emily Phelan, Ben Hall, Finlay McIsaac, Sam Poulin, Kylie Smith, Chris Brennan, Dayna Rybicki, Peter Morrison, Alison Russell, Becca Cagney, Gwynnethe Glickman, Hannah McIsaac, Kasey Hansen, Maddie O’Brien, Liza Russell, Kendale Sicard, Kyana Burgess, Josie Smith, Paige Volpone, Parker Hoover, Audrey Hoover, Tyler Hoover, Hannah McIsaac, Alivia Leo, Sasha Burgess, Anneliese Truesdale, Maggie Peterson, Erin Gershuny, and Morgan Hall.
“This has been a wonderful cast to work with,” Fix said. “They’re a ver y close-knit group. You can truly feel the camaraderie.”
The fun circus atmosphere will continue the lobby of the Firehouse. Hot dogs and popcorn will be for sale in the lobby, and the audience can explore a special art show in the gallery featuring works inspired by the circus. The exhibit also highlights the “Circus-O’-Scenario” performance.
The art show will run through Feb. 24 in the Firehouse’s upper lobby. The artists are Catherine Connor, Jonathan Macadam and Sadie Dayton.
IF YOU GO What: Circus-O-Scenario When: Tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. Where: Firehouse Center for the Arts, Market Square, Newburyport How: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students. To purchase, visit www.firehouse.org or call the box office at 978-462-7336.