National lampooners

Oil & Water

It’s a gas!

It’s a gas!

Photo by David M. Allen, <a href=""></a>

For more information on the San Francisco Mime Troupe, visit

The San Francisco Mime Troupe—still poking fun at the powers that be (after more than 50 years) through pointedly political “street theater,” presented via free performances in public parks—will bring its summer show to the Sacramento area next week, courtesy of last-minute fundraising that made the tour possible.

The SFMT’s double bill Oil & Water will play on Saturday, August 10, at the Community Park in Davis (1405 F Street; music at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m.) and on Sunday, August 11, at Southside Park in Sacramento (2115 Sixth Street; music at 3:30 p.m., show at 4 p.m.). Though the performances are free, the Mime Troupe “passes the hat” for donations.

Why a double bill? “Climate change, pollution, water scarcity and fossil fuel dependency are issues too big to be dealt with in just one story,” the group’s press release maintains. So, it’s presenting a pair of pointed one-act musicals, Crude Intentions (money-grabbing oil companies messing around in the Ecuadorian rain forest) and Deal With the Devil (set in the White House, after the president is found dead on the Fourth of July before a major speech).

What’s that? A mime troupe doing musicals? Calm down. It doesn’t do the silent mime associated with Marcel Marceau. It’s “mime” in the old sense: “to mimic.” And mimic they do, with four actors (plus two musicians) doing quick costume changes, singing and dancing. The political commentary is served up in a style reminiscent of 16th-century Italian commedia dell’arte (in which masked actors would play clever servants outwitting miserly merchants and pompous aristocrats).

This being 2013, you can expect the troupe to lampoon dodgy corporations, crooked politicians, unethical bankers and the like. You know, the sort of targets that the San Francisco Mime Troupe has been gleefully lampooning since the 1960s.