Phantasmagoria was a big hit with the 18th-century theater crowd, who thought using a “magic lantern” to project nightmare images of skeletons and demons onto smoke and screens was pretty nifty. Cirque Skeletique takes the old practice further, bringing the shadows and nightmares to life. The area circus uses movement, narrative and music to tell the story of a society on the brink of apocalypse and forced to face its “darker inclinations.” The show is an esoteric, neurotic adventure swinging between the subconscious and the conscious, featuring aerial acrobatics, contortion, sword swallowing, stilt walking, belly dancing and fire. Ever-changing Philadelphia collective Antique Matter will provide the music; those who come for the apocalypse are invited to stay after the show for a DJ and dance party.
Fri., Dec. 21, 9 p.m., $10-$12, RUBA Club, 414 Green St., 215-627-9831, rubaclubstudios.org.