Produced and performed by Alter Circus Company

Sunday, February 25, 2018, at 3:30 pm

The Lang Theatre, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, Washington, DC, 20002

CAST – Katie Embser, Gwynne Flanagan, Jessica John, Georgeanna Layton, Thomas Martin, Zoe Stasko, & Wondercabinet Weshinskey

DIRECTOR – Jessica John

CHOREOGRAPHERS – Jessica John & Stacey Carlson


RIGGING & STAGE CREW – EChO Ory, AJ Brown, Cindy Abramson, Amanda Kenney

COSTUME DESIGN – Jessica John & Alicia Phillips Mandaville

PROJECTION DESIGN – Jessica John & Brynne Levy


In Hysterical, an evening-length original work, seven artists use dazzling stunts to convey the real-world theatrics women face in the quest for equality. Featuring a cast of six strong female leads and some male eye candy, Hysterical explores the courage that can emerge from a place of shame, silence, and stigma. Contemporary circus, experimental performance, and video projection are the backdrop for Hysterical’s bold account of how women bend and bind themselves to society’s expectations. Jessica John, Alter Circus Company’s founder and director, explains that “the show is a postmodern contemporary circus production, which uses the human body as text and feminism as the lens to explore power, gender, and sexuality.”

Hysterical is presented as part of the Atlas INTERSECTION Festival 2018. It was developed as part of a residency in affiliation with Studio 180 Dance in Annapolis, MD, and Forever Dancing Ballroom in Falls Church, VA. The show runs 60 minutes with no intermission. It contains mild swearing and sexual content, and is best suited for ages 13 and up.

About Alter Circus Company

Alter Circus is a feminist company, which uses contemporary circus and performance art as vehicles to challenge gender norms and celebrate the rebellious spirit, strength, and grace of women.


Stacey Carlson (choreographer) is a choreographer, dancer, aerialist who has begun to dig deeper into storytelling, clowning, and puppetry. Her work merges the many disciplines she is trained in to blur the lines and to broaden the understanding of physical theater. Currently, she is a graduate teaching assistant at UMD-College Park pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in dance.

Katie Embser (artist) is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, soon to be a business and studio art double major. After her 7 years of aerial dance, she would like to thank Jessica John for being a constant source of inspiration, and her friends and family for their love and support over the years. Enjoy the show!

Gwynne Flanagan (artist) is a DC based theater and circus performer. She graduated from the American Conservatory Theater and the New England Center for Circus Arts. You can find out more about her at gwynnewithwings.com, www.gwynnewithwings.com, & www.forevermarzipan.com.

Jessica John (director, choreographer, artist) is a circus artist, coach, and choreographer who specializes in corde lisse, fabric, and dance trapeze. Jessica’s work challenges gender norms through displays of virtuosic strength and flexibility and rejects narrative structures as a primary humanizing device. The empathetic space she creates for performers combines with compelling visuals to make award-winning collaborative and solo works.

Georgeanna Layton (artist) is a corde lisse artist who is a mother of two and a grandmother of three from Kansas City. She can neither knit, bake or keep plants alive but can tell a hell of a story after 58 revolutions around the sun.  Two things have saved Georgeanna–love of family and rope.

Sarah Magno (stage manager) is thrilled to be working with Alter Circus for the first time. Past stage management credits include – LOCAL: Electra (4615 Theatre Company) The Man WhoCan’t Complain, Bison Beast of Dubois, Last of the Whyos (Spooky Action Theater); Doubt (Quotidian Theatre Company):Very Still and Hard to See (Rorschach Theatre); Bat Boy The Musical, The Cripple of Inishmaan (1stStage Theatre); Caesar and Dada, The Ggnadiges Fraulein (WSC Avant Bard); Reflections (Wandering Souls); King Arthur (Synetic Theater).  – NEW YORK: 2009 Dance Festival, Higher Ups (La Mama Experimental Theatre ); For The Duration (Midtown International Theatre Festival); Bitch! (New York Fringe Festival) ; Lysistrata (Ashberry Productions Access Theater). Sarah previously worked as the Production Manger for WSC Avant Bard from 2011-13.

Thomas Martin (artist) is a freelance circus artist working and training in the DC/Baltimore area specializing in fabric, dance trapeze and aerial chain. He is a current company member and coach for In The Dark Circus Arts, a resident performer for SAX Lounge, and an aerialist for the hit male burlesque show SIR in DC. His background in dance and visual art from Towson University influences his performances, allowing him to express himself physically and intellectually through circus. Thomas can be seen on Facebook and Instagram at @tmcirque.

Zoe Zou Stasko (artist) has been hanging herself by her wrists for five years, at which point she no longer feels pain. Originally from Portland, OR, she has trained and performed around the world and graduated from the Circus School of Quebec City in 2017. Her favorite book is The Lord of the Rings.

Wondercabinet Weshinskey (artist) has been wowing audiences with feets of acrobatic prowess since 1997, after training in Chinese Acrobatics with Master Lu Yi. Having worked in the U.S. and internationally first as an aerialist, then an equilibrist, and now an antipodist, she now expends most of her creative energy on Risk Agitator for Circus Experimentation–a network for artistic risk-taking in circus. She was also co-founder and director of Caravansarai Art Space in Istanbul, Turkey and works as a librarian in Loudoun County, VA.






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