Doctor Finnegan’s Circus is an eclectic group of street performers with a focus on “classic American circus-sideshow entertainment.” The trio have a rich and raucous history; they’ve entertained crowds with fireballs, beds of nails, and “human blockhead” performances across the globe for over a decade. Hailing from Fall River, Massachusetts, the gang is made up of Chip Rascal, Reverend Sean Theroux, and, of course, Doctor Finnegan.
Sean, Chip, and the Doc were kind enough to answer some questions about circus theatre, the history of the group, and the origins of DFC.
What are your roles at Doctor Finnegan’s Circus?
Sean: Doc is the barker extraordinaire, blockhead, and silver-tongued cunning linguist.
Chip: Reverend Sean is the indestructible man, impervious to pain but with a heart of gold.
Doc: Chip Rascal is the always lovable sword-swallowing scamp whose sharp wit is only matched by the delectable charm he shows while eating light bulbs.
How did Doctor Finnegan’s begin?
Chip: All other electives were taken...
Sean: [It was] three friends coming together who enjoyed making each other laugh and in turn wanted others to share in the fun.
Doc: We entertained each other for years and thought “why not entertain everyone else?”
How do you put together sideshow performances?
Chip: We enjoy putting together something that we would find entertaining and fun to watch. If there’s a joke or act we can write, sleep on, and the next day it’s still funny, then it’s in the show!
Doc: Most sideshow entertainment relies heavily on the gross and disturbing, we would rather look at it in the comical, slapstick sense. Like watching Looney Tunes while drinking Twisted Tea - there’s a threat of danger but really you can laugh about it.
What do you want people to feel when they walk away from a performance?
Sean: When each show has ended we hope our audiences feel uplifted [and] lighter. The demonstrations of superhuman activities are generally what you’ll hear when someone attempts to convey the Finnegan’s Circus experience to others. Whoever you’ve talked to and whatever you may have been told, seeing and feeling the infectious spectacle of the three performers who truly enjoy what they are doing is that unspoken thing which has put the smile you’ll see on their face as they tell you the tale.
Doc: Excited, entertained, exhausted, happy, hungry, as if they just had all of their hopes and dreams come true... as if they just had all of their hopes and dreams come true in 30 minutes or less… like when you order pizza from Dominos.
Chip: ...like the feeling of sticking your finger in an electrical outlet.
Catch Doctor Finnegan’s Circus this month at Live Pro(v) Wrestling at AS220 on December 2 and at Freakfest 2019 at Fete Music Hall on January 19.