posted September 27, 2001

SF Mime Troupe

A mime troupe that cannot keep quiet will perform at Hope College on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.

The Tony-award winning San Francisco Mime Troupe brings its well-known sense of humor, political insight, and great music to Holland as part of Hope College's Critical Issues Symposium, "Earth Matters: Daily Decisions, Environmental Echoes."

But this mime troupe is anything but quiet, instead using the ancient sense of the word "mime," which means mimic. So there is talking, singing, and plenty of laughter when ever this venerated political-comedy company appears on stage.

"Eating It," is a thought-provoking and humorous look at the specter of market-driven genetic engineering. The new play embodies the political wit that has earned the Troupe national and international acclaim for more than four decades.

"Eating It" premiered in San Francisco on July 4, 2000, and went on to set record numbers for audience attendance on its summer tour of Bay Area parks and theaters throughout Northern California.

Science fiction satire set in the immediate future, the play presents protagonists Synthia and Isaac Albright, genetic engineers and creators of Super Corn, a genetically enhanced vegetable. The patent on Super Corn has made them famous and garnered them the full support of a corporation "BobCo." Now Synthia is working on an even more powerful seed, one she hopes will end world hunger, and Isaac knows will make them wealthy. The new seed seems to offer an extraordinary opportunity for good and enormous profit, but before it is to be released at the World Food Conference, Synthia is having second thoughts about its impact on the environment.

With protestors in the streets, the President preparing to become "the man who fed the world," and the CEO from BobCo controlling events for his economic advantage, a mysterious Old Man arrives desperate to stop Synthia from releasing Super Corn.

Is he some Luddite nut? Or is he really from the future where the world has been ravaged by mutant plants, genetic contamination, and reduced to a barren wasteland? Will Synthia believe him? And why does he look so much like Isaac?

"The corn doesn't just grow high in the San Francisco Mime Troupe's 'Eating It.' The bio-engineered super-corn grows high fast - very fast. It not only resists herbicides, it cannibalizes neighboring plants and replaces them. Devised to combat world hunger, it's a worldwide environmental nightmare leaving a legacy of 'dark acid clouds raining mutant genes on the seared flesh of Mother Earth,'" says Robert Hurwitt, theater critic at the "San Francisco Examiner."

Never a company to shy away from tackling large political questions, the San Francisco Mime Troupe has been producing socially relevant musical theater since 1959. The Troupe has been called "the most established anti- establishment theater" in the United States. Endowed with a wealth of artistically inspired members, the Troupe's emphasis has remained on the ensemble not the ego, holding closely to the ideals of multiculturalism, equal wages, mentoring, and passionate popular theater.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe has won numerous Bay Area Theatre Critics' Circle Awards. It won its first OBIE Award in 1968 for "uniting theater and revolution and grooving in the parks." Since then, two more OBIEs, the coveted Tony Award for excellence in regional theater, and the Bay Area Media Alliance's Golden Gadfly Award for Lifetime Achievement, have been added to the list of the company's many honors.

Hailed by "San Francisco Examiner" theater critic Robert Hurwitt as one of "the four pillars of Bay Area theater," "politically acute and theatrically inventive," the Troupe recently completed a successful East Coast tour, where "The New York Times" called the group "a mime troupe that has a lot to say."

Tickets are $10 for the public, and $5 for Hope College students, faculty, and staff. Tickets may be purchased on Tuesday-Friday, Oct. 2-5, and Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the theatre lobby ticket office in the DeWitt Center, located on Columbia Avenue at 12th. Tickets may also be ordered during that time by calling (616) 395-7890. Please note that box office is closed Saturday-Tuesday, Oct. 6-9, due to Hope College?s Fall Break.