Thick black circles cover my eyes, matching the dark teardrop shape on my nose. I shade in the hollows of my cheekbones with more black and add thin dark lines over my white lips. The dark shapes contrast sharply against the white painted face staring back at me through the mirror. To complete the decorative skull, I add red rhinestones around my blacked out eyes. Having missed out on Halloween this year, there was no way I was going to turn down the opportunity to get my Freq. on this Friday night. Cirque De La Nuit was in town, performing their Dia De Los Muertos show at Marquee, and I knew face paint would only be the beginning of this night’s theatrics.


Dressed to impress the dead, with a large flower headpiece and the most black lace I’ve ever worn at one time, I arrived at the venue. Upon my entry I was swallowed into a mass of skeletons, top hats and flowers. Among the crowd were stilt walkers with elaborate dresses and skull faces moving to transient music that pounded through the speakers and changed with each stage performance. It was dark, alluring and completely intoxicating.


A stage was setup smack in the middle of the venue with a large dance space directly in front of it. Each stage performance attempted to top the last. As I watched various groups of performers take the floor in their extravagant costumes, the rotation seemed endless. A group of flamethrowers simultaneously played with batons of fire while also flipping around large geometric objects only feet away from the audience. As the music changed the stage would follow. Suddenly acrobats climbed, spun and dropped from ropes that fell from the ceiling. Flexible ladies hung from hoops high above the stage and trapeze artists swung towards each other from opposite ends of the set. At one point a trio of hip hop dancers lit up the stage with an upbeat routine that changed the pace of the show. Then just when you thought things were starting to get a little too normal, the center dancer attached leashes to the other two dancers and the performance took a sharp turn. To me, that was a Cirque De La Nuit trademark move. To take something seemingly normal and add a dark, twisted element to it.


The entire event was distorted. Fancy top hats and beautiful headpieces contradicted the sinister faces beneath them. Almost every attendee and performer was dressed up as a half dead stranger, which only added to the eerie quality of the night and encouraged me to delve deeper into the rabbit hole. It is rare to come across a live performance show as interactive as Cirque De La Nuit. Although I do not think this type of performance would appeal to everyone, it is the perfect setting for anyone looking to unleash their inner freak. Those who decided to forgo any sort of costume looked as though they had misread directions and shown up to the wrong party.

Only thing is, this wasn’t just any kind of party, and once you were in, it was difficult to leave.

Words by Avery Lee


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