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Mummenschanz

California Center for the Arts, Escondido, CA
February 25, 2001

By Basheva

It was a cold, wet, very un-Southern California day outside, but on the inside the warm theater was filled with people enjoying the ephemeral art of mime and masquerade. This troupe of four artists, Floriana Frassetto, Bernie Schurch, Raffaella Mattioli and Jakob Bentsen, bring to life pieces of cloth, wisps of paper, strands of light and diaphanous floating shapes.

A square, a circle, and a triangle take on life before our eyes. They assume personalities and though so differently shaped than we are, end up resembling us. We can recognize fear, anger, comedy and love, wonder and hope. And so they come alive.

Mummenschanz uses simple things one might find in an attic; boxes, wires, a pot pourri of castoffs but in the hands of these artists they become shapes of mushrooms that skim along, carpets that soar and sink, only to soar again. They move as we might like to move, unfettered by weight of gravity or commonplace.

These are creatures of an innocent imagination, lunar creatures of a pleasant dream. Imagine it and then do it is apparently what these most clever artists have done. Though only one of their biographies lists dance or choreography as a background, make no mistake this is dance and it is choreography.

There is no need for sound; this is a performance done almost entirely in complete silence. It is an artistry that delights and has no need for augmentation. Treat yourself to Mummenschanz and be prepared to sit with a smile on your face.

The lighting and stage direction are crucial to the success of this performance and so I heartily commend technical director and stage manager, Francois Thouzet.

Further words about the California Center for the Arts Theater. This theater is located about thirty miles north of San Diego. It is now getting first rate artists in every sphere. It has a season that is well worth looking into.

 

Please join a discussion of this performance in our forum.

Edited by Marie.


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