Review by Amanda Miller
Of our performance at Kids’ Night Out
San Diego Actors Festival
May 12, 2000
St. Cecilia’s Playhouse
Each scene had its own theme, for example: sharing and drug abuse. In addition, there were different sequences exhibiting various mime techniques, all extremely creative and entertaining. The atmosphere was created entirely through the actors’ physicality, facial expressions, vocal sound effects and background music. Lighting never really changed, aside from levels of brightness or dimness and periodic blackouts.
Sometimes, one word or phrase would be spoken at the end of a scene, which was incredibly powerful after a long mimed sequence lacking any speaking whatsoever. Sometimes, one of the acts would walk across the stage, holding a sign to introduce a skit with phrases such as "Your Brain on Drugs" or "Share and Share Alike." Use of these signs helped to establish a particular mood and to prepare the audience for what was to come.
The opening was brilliant; loud metal music was playing in the darkness and as the lights came up, an alien mask wearing a long straight wig poked out from behind a rectangular flat, the only piece of scenery. Events that directly followed were much to fabulous to ever be recreated through written words. Three other masks were involved, each a cross between Kiss and The Cure, along with stilts, abstract dances and abstract visual effects. Several scenes followed each with its own specific message. One that especially stood out expressed the temporary phenomena associated with drug use followed by the long-term, brain-frying after effects. Again, words would never suffice in recreating the sequence. However, a feeble attempt is about to be made.
There were two males smoking a joint and enjoying their high at first, conveyed through fascinating slow motion body movements and trance music. After a while, one person unzipped the other’s head to pull out his brain and throw it as if it were a football. (All actions were portrayed in slow motion.) The brain’s owner ran to catch his brain, but tripped, only to watch his brain fall to the ground and shatter. With that came a distinct beat change and both actors began to stare out blankly, into a world far beyond the faces of the audience. The same music continued and before long, a female walked out carrying a large piece of cloth, which she placed over the two gaping males. Then, she looked out and spoke, saying, "Drugs may seem like fun at the time, but your brain is not a toy."
For having once been a crack house, St. Cecilia’s Playhouse provided impressive sound and lighting technicalities. The one flat which served as the entire scenery along with one large black piece of cloth were both transformed into many different objects effectively. Costuming was simple; actors were dressed in black and white and put on or took off various clothing as needed such as a jacket, shirt, etc. But elaborate scenery and costumes were not necessary; everything was created through bodies, faces, vocal sound effects and music. The mime makeup was quite interesting and contributed to the overall effect.
The actors were magnificently convincing in their roles through impressive body and facial control and expression. They worked phenomenally well together to create characters and tell stories in the absence of vocalization. In doing so, the actors still managed to neither overplay nor underplay their parts. Performances of all four actors were above and beyond outstanding throughout.
The stage always stayed comfortably balanced. Despite the lack of verbal speaking, there were no aspects of the production that were at all confusing or distracting. Every idea, concept and message was clearly communicated in a highly creative fashion. Every scene made sense and flowed beautifully. In fact, it was probably impossible for the director’s concept to be at all improved upon.
This was one of the most mind-expanding, impressive, creative, amazing productions I have ever seen. I absolutely want to go to mime school. The amount that one’s body is capable of is perfectly mind-boggling. The body is the actor’s tool, and this show could not have done a better job of expressing that.