Night Shift at TheatreWorks 

The members of Memphis' FreakEngine improv company called it quits last summer, and after 18 uninterrupted years of late-night insanity at TheatreWorks, Memphis found itself without a regular midnight show. But nature hates a vacuum, and it didn't take long for a coalition of vaudeville types to dream up "Night Shift," an ever-evolving variety show to take its place.

Callie Compton's company Weightless Aerial had been around for about a year when the time slot become available. "When we saw FreakEngine was abandoning that spot, we immediately started talking to people about how we might fill it," she says. The result was "Night Shift," a monthly multi-media event hosted by Memphis comedian Katrina Coleman.

click to enlarge “Night Shift”
  • “Night Shift”

"Every show we do has a story," Compton says. This time around, the story is a period piece about a young man looking for love in the 1980s. "But we have so many different kinds of artists we work with, and it's always different every time."

In addition to performing with traditional hoops and silks, two members of Weightless work with aerial straps that hang like ribbons made from seatbelt material. "It's incredibly difficult," Compton says. "The silks are beautiful and elegant, but this is stronger. It's more focused on the performer and less on the apparatus. With so much less going on, you can really see the movement and the strength."

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