“Dark and wicked” cirque brings the paranormal to Waco

By Tyler Bui | Assistant News Editor, Vivian Roach | Staff Writer, Video by Igor Stepczynski | Broadcast Reporter

The Paranormal Cirque promised Waco a weekend full of “scares, screams and laughs” as the performers made a five-day stop on their tour, which ended Monday night.

The show followed European styles and incorporated a scare factor into its performance. The Paranormal Cirque gave the audience “dark and wicked” show, filled with a combination of acrobatics, magic, horror, cabaret and theater.

Upon entering the cirque, audience members were greeted by clowns, skeletons and chainsaw-carrying zombies. The show began with a dark, distorted voice and led into the acrobatics portion of the performance.

Dancer, magician assistant and on-site media rep Olivia Mattice said the Paranormal Cirque is unique and set itself apart with its daring performances. During the show, Mattice danced with fire and performed magic tricks.

“Aside from our horror theme that separates us from other circus acts, we have a lot of magic involved and we have traditional circus acts, but we are more about pushing the human limit,” Mattice said. “We are very interactive, and we like to pull people on stage. We are very theatrical.”

Ben Holland, contortionist, scare actor and stage and production crew member, gave his performance by beginning his act trapped in a cage. He said his favorite act in the show is the “hair-hanging lady.”

“We have a lady here who hangs and does an exorcist [performance] and hangs by her hair,” Holland said. “She takes it and ties it all together, and then she’s suspended with no hands, no nothing. She flies around and does tricks in the air—it’s amazing, it’s something else for sure.”

Sonya Black, scare actor, said she doesn’t have a performance arts background, but always enjoyed horror and costume making.

“My character is sort of a shape-shifting demon. I guess she’s just a little piece of chaos. When I first got here, I really had no idea what I was doing,” Black said. “I just had to study everyone around me and pick up their little habits and mimic. It’s weird because one day this shift just happened and I knew exactly what to do. This character came out and I’ve been developing it ever since.”

The cast consists of about 52 people, and they are on the road 11 months out of the year while performing at a new venue every week.

Holland said his favorite part about his job is the people, and that he appreciates the opportunity to see so many different places while on tour. However, he said that traveling comes with its setbacks.

“The most interesting thing is that of all the different places, everywhere is kind of the same. That is what brings us all together,” Holland said. “[However], you don’t really have a home, you can’t really count on things like that. A lot of days I’ll wake up and think, ‘Where am I?’, and have to go onto Google maps. But everybody here is so nice, and it’s one big family that travels around. We’re only in any given place for a week at most, so we all know each other and help each other out.”