Mimed Creation Evolves Slowly

THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE; BETTY AND BOB AND COSMIC EVOLUTION; STILL LIFE: CLOWN AND CROWN AND ESCURIAL, presented by Mirage Mime Threater through May 12, 531 Tremont Street, Boston. For more information call 428-6662

by Jeanne Belovitch

Some of the most interesting threater productions are taking place four stories up.... Add The Mirage Mime Theater to the group on the fourth floor of the Boston Center for the Arts Complex.

Karen Geiger and George Lewis presented to an audience of about 75 an hour and a half of corporal mime which at its highest moments was in the exploration and instant communication of the human condition.

Geiger and Lewis used three mime pieces to exercise their virtuosity, two of which they created themselves. Unfortunately, the quality of the pieces didn't reach the level of facial and body movement presented by Geiger and Lewis. Because of this deficiency, each piece suffered from redundancy in the body movement presented.

In The Creation of the Universe, created by Geiger, two fools present a comic re-enactment of the evolution of the univerese from the "Big Bang" to primitive man. The sound effects and music are superb: you can feel the struggle within the universe and then, at its most intense moment, the audience knows without reading the program that a great rupture has taken place. A man and a woman emerge moving as a unit. They then separate and after too many similar movements reach the climax of the presentation, which is wonderfully farcical and clever. It just takes too long to get there.

Still-Life: Clown and Crown created by Lewis is about a clown who discovers a crown and contemplates the glories and pitfalls of power. It's a focused study on these emotions expertly performed by Lewis. The ending is particularly well done in its pathos when the clown understands the degrees of anguish and pain associated with having that much power.

Escurial, the longest of the three performances and the most complex, was written in 1927 by Michel de Ghelderode. Ghelderode's plays manifest a deep contempt for the commonplace and for bourgeois mentality in general, and are full of caustic irony and a keen sense of the fantastic. As the man once said, "Nothing could be created more proud and more audacious than human flesh, which smells of the perfume of ashes."

In Escurial, Karen Geiger's talent is most evident as the fool Folial. She plays this character with masterful precision. Instantaneously she is able to change her facial expressions giving the audience not only a new emotion but an entirely new face...a face totally different from the one seconds before.

During Escurial, the fool and the king (George Lewis) engage in casual bantering which ultimately descends into complete madness for both characters, while the queen lies dying of a musterious malaise in an unseen room.

Again, Lewis and Geiger are exceptional at their craft, with Geiger riveting as Folial. But the story itself doesn't quite make it. The Mirage production of Escurial includes sound in its performance as well as props. And the director notes in the program that "...corporeal mime training is not in any way at odds with the use of sound, or for that matter, the use of props...that mime is not a type of stage movement, but rather that all dramatic movement is mime."

Geiger and Lewis are excellent actors of corporeal mime. They should give themselves stories that are as good as their performance.

Source: South End News, Boston, MA; 1984