Sunday, August 20, 2006

San Francisco Mime Troupe: Godfellas

Yesterday we went to see the current show by the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Normally, I keep quiet about my appreciation of the Mime Troupe; they're fundamentally marxists as far as I can tell. But, as Janet says, they're further from the mainstream than I am, so they can be relied on to skewer whoever is in power, and they have a great sense of humor. And the old trope seems true to me: the left is much better at producing entertainment than the right. I should point out that this is a musical comedy, performed outdoors on a their portable stage. The Mime Troupe does political theater. "Mime" is used in its ancient sense of parody.

But all that aside, their current show, Godfellas is wonderfully libertarian. The heroine's constant inspiration is Thomas Paine, who is quoted liberally, and even appears on stage a couple of times. The theme of the show is religious control of society and people's thoughts. The show's protagonist is a teacher who runs an after-school program which is taken over by religious extremists (in a move that would only make sense to people who don't understand ownership or who believe that bureaucracies are always all-powerful). She decides to fight back and starts a movement that ends up going head-to-head with the religious syndicates that are pushing for a constitutional amendment to institute a national day of mandatory prayer.

The rhetoric is clear, pro-reason, and probably offensive to any even mildly religious audience. The Palo Alto crowd (primarily left-wing) seemed to love it.

The Mime Troupe has another month left on their summer run. They'll be performing the show in San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, and several other locations throughout central and northern California through October 1st. If the show sounds like it might be appropriate in your area they're trying to put together an East Coast tour next year. Contact the Mime Troupe for details.

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