A haunted experience: ‘Last Night at the Circus’

Published 8:19 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Long ago, there was a small yet popular circus run by Harry Todd. Harry was quite a showman, but knew nothing of running a circus, treating his carney employees poorly and paying them even worse. Harry was oblivious to the growing turmoil amongst his rough crew, and the circus began to rot and fall apart under his nose. His young but long-suffering wife Sarah loved Harry, but was disillusioned by the circus life. They had a son, William, who was hated and ignored by his father. Eventually, he abandoned William to the care of his mother and the carnies … who had become murderous in their rage against the family. The cursed Todd Family Circus is dark with murder, insanity and clowns … don’t you want to join the circus?

That’s the premise for Franklin High School Theatre this weekend for the school’s “Haunted Experience,” a new immersive theatre event where the audience walks through the performance. But this is no regular haunted house.

FHS Theatre Director Teri Zurfluh said, “We researched how to host a successful haunted event, and all the advice came back to ‘Have a strong story.’ So our theatre students wrote and directed this story “Last Night of the Circus.” FHS theatre students also created all the scenic designs, lighting and sound effects as they converted halls of their high school into a crumbling and creepy circus.”

She added that the idea came from Franklin City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tamara Sterling, who was looking for creative ways to fundraise for the Vanguard Early College program at FHS.

“This project has actually encouraged more students to be involved in theatre this fall, and we’ve had to create every aspect of this show. It has been a fantastically creative project, incorporating all the things we typically do for a regular theatre production… and more!” said Zurfluh. “It’s not Howl-O-Scream … but it’s a fun way to celebrate the Halloween season!”

“Last Night at the Circus” performances will be on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 7 to 10 p.m., and on Sunday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Franklin High School. Tickets are $5 at the door. This show is not appropriate for children under the age of 12.