This weekend’s great gig in the sky is “The Dark Side of the Circus,” which mashes up The Wizard of Oz into Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon,” but with juggling, acrobats, and pole dancing.
Many a late-night, two-bong-rip argument has been waged over whether the 1973 Pink Floyd album “Dark Side of the Moon” is somehow a corresponding work to the 1939 Judy Garland film The Wizard of Oz. But a new, live circus production premiering at Dance Mission Theater this weekend throws a technicolor sheet of acid over that whole debate by mixing the two into one. Bow & Arrow Circus’s “The Dark Side of the Circus” is a circus variety show where Dorothy is a contortionist, and Oz is a land bristling with juggling, acrobatics, pole dancing, and unicycles.
“We demanded a lot of the performers,” the show’s director and Bow & Arrow Circus co-founder Genie Cartier tells SFist. “They all have to have a lot of different skills in order to do this show, because it’s extremely involved.”
“Acting, dancing, acrobatics, aerists, object manipulation, we’ve got a little bit of everything,” adds another Bow & Arrow Circus co-founder Marie Cartier.
There’a brief preview video above, and yes this is straight-up Pink Floyd, but with some twists. “The album is really interesting because all of the songs kind of flow into each other, ir’s almost more like an orchestra piece,” Genie Cartier tells us. “So we intricately choreographed the entire circus to the album. Every song, every moment in the album is accented with movement. And then we also utilized the rough storyline of The Wizard of Oz for the story of the show.”
You’ll see faces and acts you might recognize from Pickle Family Circus and SF Mime Troupe in this show, and in reality, you were supposed to see this show more than two years ago before the COVID-19 pandemic intervened.
“The show was supposed to open the first weekend of April 2020,” Genie Cartier says, noting they’d lined up more than 100 donors. “This was a show we had been planning for two years.”
“During that time, we had a lot of time to think about what wasn’t working in the show and fix it. We had some cast changes because people moved away during the pandemic,” she adds. “Originally we were supposed to do it with a live band. With the pandemic, we just decided it was too risky to have that many people all together in a room singing.”
“We let this show marinate, and we think it’s so much tastier because of that,” Marie Cartier tells us. “We all developed a few more skills.”
There are still tickets remaining for Sunday’s “The Dark Side of the Circus” performances at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. But the Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. shows are technically sold out. You can still get in, though, but you’d better run run run to Dance Mission Theater at 7 p.m. to get on a wait list, and with any luck, you’re off to see “The Dark Side of the Circus.”
Images: Bow & Arrow Circus Theater