Jeremy Lucas (Photo courtesy Sweet Bear Photography)
‘Haunt clown’ Jeremy Lucas has found his dream job with ‘Paranormal Cirque’
Since it began, Cirque Italia” has been awing and amazing audiences around the world with its wide variety of shows featuring high-flying acrobatics and often ethereal storylines. Now, with dozens of shows on its resume, Cirque is offering something, well, a little different: Paranormal Cirque.
Paranormal is, basically, the Cirque version of a horror show. It is, according to the Cirque website, a show with “breathtaking implications, always poised between fun and the most uninhibited fear, that will transport you to a dark world inhabited by creatures with incredible circus art abilities.” It is, the website continues, a “crazy yet fun fusion between circus, theatre, and cabaret in perfect harmony with the evolution of a show that brings you back to when we dream — and when we had nightmares and fantasies.”
Paranormal Cirque has brought its dark vision to North Texas, running through Feb. 7 at the Stonebrier Centre in Frisco, and the show has brought with it gay cast member Jeremy Lucas. And Lucas sat down this week to talk to Dallas Voice about himself and the latest Cirque show.
— Tammye Nash
Dallas Voice: Tell me a little bit about your background. How did you get started? What non-Cirque productions have you been part of? Jeremy Lucas: I’ve been a haunt actor for 7-plus years now. I started in California as a clown at Knotts Scary Farm. I had never really acted before (outside of getting into characters for Halloween), and I had never been to a haunt before. I had a friend who was obsessed with the haunt world, and he convinced me to audition for a role as a clown.
Apparently, I blew the staff away and they gave me a spot on the streets. They gave me complete creative control over my clown character and let me interact with guests however I felt fit. It was an amazing experience that gave me a new purpose in life.
I’ve worked at Knotts Scary Farm for four years as a street clown, at Queen Mary Dark Harbor for two years as a maze clown, and at The 17th Door one year as the front guard with a taser. They gave me a literal taser and let me do my thing
Is this your first Cirque show? If not, what other shows have you been involved in? And how long has Cirque been going? This is my first official Cirque. I’ve only worked it for a few weeks, but it’s been a long-running dream of mine to travel and entertain people. This one has been going for over three years I believe, and I’m hoping to travel with them for a while.
How did you get cast in Paranormal? What is the process that you go through to be part of this (or any) Cirque show? The operator of Queen Mary Dark Harbor had shared a hiring post from one of the managers. I buffed up my resume, organized all my videos and applied. Haha! Sorry, I wish it was more exciting than that.
What is the story of Paranormal Cirque? How is Paranormal different from other Cirque shows? Paranormal Cirque is a part of Cirque Italia, a company that has multiple traveling circuses to its name. We’re currently the only ‘Rated R’ show in the company.
What sets us apart is we take a dark undertone and have a haunted maze before the show actually begins. I haven’t seen a traveling cirque that also has a scary vibe, so all of my dreams (aka your nightmares) take life!
I get to travel to random towns and screw with people. I’m living my dream!
Tell me about your role, your character in Paranormal. I think I read that you are a clown; is that right? What is your part of the story? So I stand at the front gate before the show begins, interacting with individuals and deciding if they need a good laugh or a good scare. My current outfit doesn’t say clown, but my personality definitely does. I have various techniques and characters I bring out in the heat of the moment, each different from the last. I also have a stage segment where I invite guests to come join us on stage for a photo.
My stage presence is different from my barker presence. My barker clown is meant to make people uncomfortable with my presence and put them somewhat on edge. On stage, they’re uncomfortable because my jokes suck. I also pose as a psychic couples’ counselor and talk people through their “problems” while we take a photo together.
From your perspective, as an actor, what is it that sets Cirque shows apart from other theater? Pure unadulterated improv for me. I can read every individual that comes in and change my act accordingly. And the overall presence of all the actors and performers is so awe-inspiring, it is people on the road showcasing their talents; you don’t get this kind of entertainment on TV.
If someone asked you why they should come see this show, rather some other show, what would you tell them? Well, in my personal — and somewhat biased — opinion, 110 percent see this show. We have a little bit more edge to us from other circuses, so we keep it interesting as possible. Between our interactions and the audience’s reactions to the overall show, I’d say it’s well produced, and we all definitely have a unique presence that will make you come back.
What did I not ask you about that you want people to know? I think everything was pretty much covered. I have a lot of stories though, so if you ever want to hear about the people I’ve tormented, message me on Instagram, @headsmellspuppys!
Paranormal Cirque continues through Feb. 7 at Stonebrier Centre in Frisco. Tickets start at $20. No one under age 13 will be admitted; those ages 13-17 must be accompanied by an adult. For details or to purchase tickets, visit ParanormalCirque.com.