San Francisco Mime Troupe
Youth Theater Project
Young California Writers' Project
S.F. Mime Troupe's Theater for Communities
In the Philippines, India and other countries of the Third and Second worlds, theater is widely used as a tool for community empowerment. Theater professionals work with grassroots groups in urban and rural areas to create short plays about community issues. Participants experience the fulfillment of creative expression and collective problem solving. Community members then perform the plays at meetings and rallies, inspiring people to organize and speak out against injustice in their societies.
The Mime Troupe is famous for creating political satire with music. We do not do pantomime. We do mime in the ancient sense of "to imitate, to mimic." Our work is grounded in the American Melodrama and Commedia dell'Arte traditions. We use larger the life characters, fantasy, and a strong story line with an avowed point of view. The goal of the Mime Troupe workshop is to teach the tools and put the power of creation into the hands of the participants.
Our instructors use theater and improvisation games and team-building exercises to break down barriers, encourage collaboration, and facilitate trust and comfort. Then the stock characters and contemporary archetypes are introduced. We move from there into ensemble methods of play creation and burning issue discussions. Time permitting, we then form small groups that create, rehearse, and perform a short play, using five frames to make a scene and essentialize the story.
Lecture/Demonstration for up to 300 participants
In 1 - 3 hours, the Mime Troupe can present the history of the company. A Collective Member will explain the origins of the company and its evolution as a key part of the Counter Culture, Anti-War Movement, and the International Popular Theatre Community. We will use slides and/or videotape selections to help the audience visualize the work. We usually bring audience members up to try several physical games and character exercises as part of teaching the outdoor style that has made the company famous.
Three-Hour Workshop for 10 to 30 participants
In this format, company members will take participants through the basic skill and physical training required to play in the larger-than-life style that drives our comedies. We begin with a physical warm-up, then a series of games designed to mold participants into an ensemble. This leads into a survey of contemporary archetypes or Commedia dell'Arte characters. We use improvisation exercises to work on character building with dynamic, whole body techniques. We begin to use these skills to turn political ideas into theater.
One Day Workshop for 10 to 20 participants
(six hours with an hour break)
In this all day form, we take participants into a much more detailed understanding of our work. The same physical approach and ensemble building games form a gro