Mime is money

Capitalism for non-majors in the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s Doing Good<i>.</i>

Capitalism for non-majors in the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s Doing Good.

If you think mimes are weird and creatively obsolete and kind of infuriating, you should try American foreign policy! Ba-dump bump. This general philosophy is palpably displayed in most performances by the San Francisco Mime Troupe (SFMT), which has been in business—or, more accurately, in play—since 1959; which is not silent, thank you very much; and which brings its antics to the Southside Park bandshell, between Sixth and T streets, at 4 p.m. this Sunday. Get there at 3:30, actually, because there will be live music and because it’s all free.

Rooted in the commedia dell’arte tradition of the Italian Renaissance, and specializing in succinct, satirical dramatizations of all the wonderful news in today’s headlines, the troupe lives at the pulsating intersection between political events and personal lives. Lately, it’s had no shortage of material. Recent show titles—1600 Transylvania Avenue; Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan; Veronique of the Mounties in Operation: Frozen Freedom; and Showdown at Crawford Gulch—should give you a sense of SFMT imperatives. To the weary, of course, those titles also might seem like a survey of things to just keep being depressed about. But cheer up: Sunday’s performance, described by the performers as “a fable based on fact,” is called Doing Good.

True, it was inspired by John Perkins’ harrowing best seller Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and portrays a young, idealistic couple joining the Peace Corps and venturing nobly into the Third World only to get tangled in a web of intrigue and financial corruption. But, for all its ambition, how earnest could this thing be? They’re mimes, for heaven’s sake. Visit www.sfmt.org or call (415) 285-1717 for more.