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Sweethearts in a spooky show
As if raising children, running a household and holding down several jobs between them weren’t enough, performers Steffon and Arlette Moody are currently in rehearsals for a project they have created together — “Dark Carny: A Macabre Cabaret.”
The couple, who are the writers, stars and producers of the show, will take the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at Red Bicycle Bistro & Sushi. Another performance will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30.
This is the third time the Moodys have done the show, which was first staged at the Blue Heron in 2001, and the first time it has been presented at the Bike.
“It’s very nice at the bistro; we can really meander through the space. It will give us more freedom,” said Arlette.
“Dark Carny” features songs and black humor and is being billed as “a carnival of freak shows, roller coasters, midway games and conspiratorial teeth-gnashing that delights in the underbelly of existence.”
The Moodys play the role of ghoulish cabaret hosts Guto and Dita, who Steffon described as a cross between “Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray in ‘Cabaret’ and members of the Munster family.”
He said the show explores “the down side of life — and using that to create a gleeful revelry.”
Adding spice to the show will be a couple of puppet vignettes and a larger cast of carny characters that mill in the crowd.
Steffon and Arlette are well known in Island performance circles and beyond.
In 1989, Steffon was one of the founding members of the UMO Ensemble. During his time with UMO, Steffon developed many of his abilities including buffoonery, clowning, movement, vocal work and songwriting. In 1994, he left UMO to pursue his solo career.
Arlette attended the University of Texas and studied dance. She relocated to Seattle 11 years ago, shortly before meeting Steffon at the Seattle Festival of Alternative Dance and Improvisation.
The two hit it off, and Arlette moved to Vashon. They started the band Rumpus together and quickly moved on to writing and producing theater.
The Moodys embrace the unique lifestyle of Island residents. Arlette is a Pilates instructor and busy mother to the couple’s two children, Louisa, 9, and Giacomo, 3.
Steffon holds several jobs, including working as a clown at Children’s Hospital for the past seven years. He performs with Zambini Brothers, EnJoy Productions and Frank Harlan Comedy. He also writes for JibJab.com, an animation Web site.
Steffon described his collaboration with Arlette as “tricky” and explained, “It’s not easy to have two kids and run a household and try to do creative things that don’t always pay the bills.”
But he added that he and Arlette both come from artistic backgrounds.
“It’s in our DNA — both of our families are just saturated with performers,” he said.
Creating art is a “way of life,” Steffon added.
“Performance is a sacred thing,” he said. “Being on stage is a way of being most alive and connecting with people and breaking down barriers.
Arlette, a strong, creative force in her own right, said she is happy to be collaborating with her husband.
“We actually had a very fun rehearsal the other night,” she said. “It was a nice happy moment with my husband — we were both laughing so hard we were crying. We’ve played house for so long, it’s nice to work together doing a creative project that we feel passionately about.”
— This article was written by Elizabeth Shepherd using information provided by AnnaLisa Lafayette.