Preview: Fear in the neighborhood
The Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe—which has been gleefully staging politically barbed satire-in-the-streets since the 1950s—swings through the region this weekend, performing Friday in Nevada City, Saturday in Sacramento, and Sunday in Davis.
The Troupe’s latest outing is Freedomland, a dark musical comedy that explores a highly topical subject: the dangerous situations that develop when young black men, moving through what some might regard as risky neighborhoods, encounter officers who are sometimes a little too quick to draw their weapons. Fear—and how it fuels the sometimes violent outcome of these encounters, is a theme. Characters include a former member of the Black Panther Party, a young black veteran returning from military duty in Afghanistan, a police chief keen on acquiring paramilitary gear and more.
Freedomland features a cast of four (appearing in multiple roles), two musicians and a backstage crew. The script is by Michael Gene Sullivan, with music and lyrics by Ira Marlowe. Sullivan’s been with the troupe for 27 years—he also appears as an actor. It’s not a silent performance—here, the term “mime” is defined in the ancient sense: “to mimic.” Expect toe-tapping, up-tempo songs and raucous verbal humor. The show is a community effort in the truest sense: local activists, including Sacramento’s Southside Cohousing Community, will host and feed the touring artists.