‘The Barker’ Comes to Palisades Charter High School

By KAREN DROR and DESI FRIEDBERG

Bringing Kenyon Nicholson’s 1927 circus experience to life at Mercer Hall, performances of “The Barker” kick off at Palisades Charter High School this week.

This cautionary tale follows a traveling circus behind the scenes as they tackle the hardships of gritty living conditions, fractured relationships and never-ending financial issues. In the face of these burdens, the circus members stand boldly as the distinguished characters judge and scold their loved ones.

Amid the breakups and altercations, one of the takeaway messages of the play is that for the sake of mental health and sanity, individuals must act according to their own will—when it comes to both romance and career.

Ezra Schoeplein, formerly seen on the Pali High stage as Tom Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby,” takes on the role of Nifty Miller, the headstrong circus barker who runs the show for Colonel Gowdy (Desi Friedberg).

The performers’ livelihoods are put at stake when Nifty’s son Chris (Nicolas Libonati) comes to visit for the summer, while headline dancer Carrie (Eloisa Huggins) and snake charmer Lou (Gabi Feingold) grow envious of the young man.

In trying to manage his son, as well as the circus, Nifty loses his touch with reality, acting aggressively, unable to control his emotions and passion. (Parents should be warned this show contains some strong content.)

Cheri and Monique Smith shared that they are excited to embark upon the feat of heading this production. The Smith sisters have pulled out all the stops and tricks to make what will undoubtedly be one of Pali High’s most memorable plays.

The two navigate the cast through the mature content through acting, song and dance, carefully shining a light on difficult issues that continue to be a problem in our society today.

The circus takes the stage on Nov. 1 through 3 and 8 through 10 at 7 p.m., as well as matinee shows at 2 p.m. on Saturdays, Nov. 3 and 10.

General admission is $16, $10 for students and $23 for VIP seats. Tickets can be obtained at palithebarker.brownpapertickets.com or at the door—first come first served. There will also be carnival games and photo opportunities.

The traveling circus will be on the road again soon, so don’t miss what is sure to be a stellar show.