Payomet Presents A Halloween Circus Spectacular
by Steve Desroches
All Photos Courtesy of Eleanor Getz.
As the weather turns wilder, the inky black of night creeps in earlier and earlier, and the throngs of tourists, even in this pandemic year, vanish, thoughts on the Outer Cape each October drift toward the supernatural. Halloween season is upon us. In normal times this should be a banner year for the high haunted holiday, with Provincetown in particular hosting thousands in costume along Commercial Street. And what’s more, Halloween falls on a Saturday with not just a full moon, but a blue moon! And it’s the night that daylight savings time ends, giving an extra hour of revelry. But alas, 2020 is a vicious year and Halloween festivities are a big question mark in the year of the pandemic.
The folks at Payomet have a fun and safe way to celebrate Halloween as their resident circus company Cirque by the Sea presents Scout: A Cirque Scary-Tale in their drive-in style, socially distanced, outdoor performance space in North Truro.
“This is really exciting as Cirque never goes this late into the season, “ says Eleanor Getz, co-founder and cast member of Cirque by the Sea. “We thought it would be a fun thing to offer this holiday season, especially since a lot of traditional things may be canceled and even trick or treating may not happen.”
In this special Halloween show, Cirque by the Sea introduces us to a group of scouts camping and telling ghost stories around a campfire. As the now frightened scouts try to sleep they begin to hear strange noises coming from the woods and one brave scout goes to investigate. As she wanders the darkened forest, the ghouls and goblins living in the haunted woods come to life via circus acts, including the trapeze, aerial silks, juggling, and acrobatics.
Cirque by the Sea has become a beloved feature since they joined the seasonal offerings of the Payomet Performing Arts Center seven years ago. In addition to a show each summer, Cirque by the Sea offers circus classes for those aged three to six, circus camps for children aged seven to fourteen, and aerial classes for those age fifteen and older (all were canceled this year due to the pandemic, but will return when safe to do so).
The cast of Scout: A Cirque Scary-Tale features Getz, Teddy Ment, juggler Trevor Pearson, and Georgie Johnson, each presenting a wide array of circus act skills and feats. Getz studied dance and choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University and, despite initial hesitancy, took an introductory course in aerial arts. She was hooked. Getz continued her studies at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she met Truro native Teddy Ment, becoming artistic partners, performing the duo trapeze.
“For me, there had never been a circus on the Cape,” says Ment. “This has been such a great opportunity to introduce so many people to circus arts in what I consider one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”
All summer long Payomet’s drive-in shows have been a huge hit, including Cirque by the Sea’s show Sandman. Audience members turn the shows into tailgating events, staying within their own social circles of those in their vehicle. But there is an air of “we’re in this together” among the crowds, as people wave from car to car. And with this Halloween show, people are not only encouraged to bring their own snacks and drinks, but to come in costume should they wish…and don’t forget a mask, not a Halloween one, but approved public health face covering.
“We really hope this lifts people’s spirits,” says Getz. “We’re really looking forward to this show.”
Cirque by the Sea presents Scout: A Cirque Scary-Tale at the Payomet Performing Arts Center, 29 Old Dewline Rd. North Truro, Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m. through November 11 (no show October 16). Tickets ($20 adults/$10 children 14 and under) must be purchased in advance and are available online at payomet.org. For more information call 508.487.5400.