The long line of people braving the cold outside of Crites Hall can only mean one thing: the circus has come to town, or in this case, SCAD. The line was full of people eager to see 3rd Acts newest show, Behind the Tent, created and directed by Ilyssa Galloway.
Inside the lobby, guests were greeted with a scene straight out of a circus: themed music blaring in the background, clowns, a stilt walker and rag dolls. A bearded lady mingled with the crowd and passed out clown noses, while a lizard-man handed out popcorn. In one corner of the lobby was a fortune-teller with a line of eager audience members as long as his deck of cards. Cigarette girls even handed out cigarette-shaped candy to the guests.
The interaction did not end there. As audiences made their way inside the Mondanaro Theater, they were led to their seats by another clown whose snide comments entertained audiences before the show had even started.
Once the lights dimmed and the show began, audiences were transported back to the era of Vaudeville entertainment. To borrow the title from one of the show’s acts, “Behind the Tent” celebrates our differences by fusing modern themes, such as social statuses and technology, with Vaudevillian acts.
From a wannabe diva belting out “I Am What I Am,” (before being nearly booted off the stage by another clown) to two grandparents trying to figure out the “BookFace,” to the Charlie Chaplin tribute of “The Great Dictator,” the show left audience members enthralled. Guests would be transfixed in one scene, making the room so quiet one could easily hear a person seated all the way in the back munching on popcorn, then a second or two later, they would dissolve into laughter and hoots.
It seemed as though every applause and bit of laughter would grow louder and louder after each passing act.
The show closed with a single, wise word from Chaplin’s speech in “The Great Dictator,” in which he calls on men to do one thing: unite. “Behind the Tent” beautifully united 1900’s with modernity, theatricality and social issues, making the long line out in the cold well worth the wait.