A Fool’s Journey, a Misfit Circus Cabaret Begins in Chicago

“Beginning with the Fool’s card in the Tarot deck, this circus cabaret style show exposes our unconscious thoughts and desires.”

A new kind of show will premiere at Chopin Theatre on Thursday, July 20. The kind of show that delves in to the physical world of circus and the mystical world of the Tarot card. A Fool’s Journey is a new experimental contemporary circus cabaret featuring live music by Bret Koontz. This premiere Misfit Circus production is a circus collaborative founded by circus artists Molly Plunk (clown, wire walker) and Natalie Abell (hand balancing, aerial rope). Misfit Circus is itself a new circus company that Plunk and Abell decided to form after a summer of coaching together at a children’s circus summer camp called Cirkus Smirkus in Vermont.

Plunk and Abell see parallels between the realms of circus and mysticism. Whether it’s in the anticipation of a Tarot reading, or the nervous excitement of standing at the precipice of a tightwire platform; Tarot and circus function as mediums to the unconscious world, drawing up raw emotion and secret desires. To that end, each of the acts in the show will represent aspects of Tarot’s major arcana, or allegories for the rite of passage one must experience if they are to realize wholeness.

But they assure us that we will not be alone on this journey: “At some point, everyone plays the part of the Fool and we must all confront our hidden selves,” says Abell. Plunk follows up, “The Fool is the part of ourselves that is distinctly us, and unadulterated.”

To find out more about Misfit Circus, follow them on Facebook and Instagram. This project is partially supported by a Cultural Outreach Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and a grant from the Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.

A Fool’s Journey will be playing at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. Shows are Thursday thru Sunday from July 20 through August 13. Tickets are $36 for cabaret table seating; $27 general admission.

Kim Campbell
Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell (they/them) is a freelance editor, podcaster and creative writer who has spent a career focusing on the arts, particularly literature, theater and circus. Former editor of CircusTalk News, they have written about theater and circus for Third Coast Review since its very beginning. Kim is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the International Network of Circus Arts Magazines. In 2019, they were on the jury of FIRCO in Madrid (Circus Festival Iberoamericano) and in 2021 they were on the voting committee for the International Circus Awards. See their tweets at @kimzyn or follow them on Instagram.