They're mime! All mime! - Quad-Cities Online: Life

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They're mime! All mime!

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Posted: Thursday, September 17, 1998 1:00 am

Quad-City kids soon will be begging their folks to take them out to the ball game, after having seen the Seattle Mime Theatre perform at their schools. The troupe's Visiting Artist series runs through Sept. 26, and the finale will be ``The Diamond Project,'' a theatrical take on baseball at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at John O'Donnell Stadium, Davenport.

Tickets for the Diamond Project are $5 for adults and $3.50 for children. Ten area actors will join the troop to perform pieces like ``The Spitting Dance'' and ``The Language of Hand Signals and Human Pitches.'' For more information call Quad City Arts at 793-1213.

The men making up SMT were here five years ago, and they roared into the Quad-Cities to open the Visiting Artist series Monday with a performance at Eisenhower Elementary School, Davenport.

Body language says it all, but Rick Davidson, Brian Neel and Bruce Wylie are not required to be mute. They make lots of funny noises and funny remarks.

They showed their goods in tug-of-war and a gum-chewing routines, and then called for 20 kids to play the Go, Stop, Melt game. They demonstrated, walking briskly, stopping on a dime, and sagging slowly on command.

Then they added Jitterbug, Slow Motion and Dinosaur to the rapid-fire commands. The jitterbug was frenetic, the slow motion was molasses, and the dinosaurs were fierce, including a wing-flapping pterodactyl. The kids really got into the act, and when they were asked to be jitterbugging dinosaurs, they really cut loose.

An improv number was next. Before the performance began, the troupe asked several kids to think of ideas for a story; the who, the what and the where.

Mr. Davidson said, ``Once we had a fire-breathing rabbit, and we've had a 67-pound Hershey bar. One where was in the ear of a rhino.''

Eisenhower's suggestions were a Miss Plaqueman, a 10-foot banana split, and a candy shop.

Mr. Davidson began his tale, ``Once upon a time there was a village high on the side of Mt. Rainier, Washington.''

Mr. Neel and Mr. Wylie created the slope and the people trying to climb it in the rain with their bodies.

The citizens of this village loved sweet things, the narrator continued, and the interpreters pigged out on candy, one shooting Tic Tacs into the mouth of the other with a lot of chit-chat about sweet stuff.

``Then Billy Bob Johannsen came in with something huge -- an enormous boat. Banana splits were being imported.''

The performers jumped into the banana split, rubbed hot fudge sauce under their arms, and began a whirlwind of eating.

``Three and a half years later, no banana split was left.''

The two commented on each others' weight gain, and then it happened. Their teeth tingled, at first, and then they hurt. ``Strange stuff began to grow on their teeth. Their teeth loosened.''

They began to wail, and then they called the Answer Line and were advised to send an e-mail to Miss Plaqueman. Their kinetic interpretation of the internet was fantastic.

Miss Plaqueman jumped into her private jet and came to their aid, showing them how to brush and floss and advising them on a healthier diet. They'd never heard of cauliflower, which she recommended.

``Soon all the children of the village had flashing, well-cared-for teeth. Once in awhile they had a bit of candy, but they also had brussels sprouts, broccoli and macaroni and cheese, and their teeth rarely, if ever, hurt again.''

There's nothing like wild comedy with a moral.

To the music of the Annapolis Brass Quintet the company went up and down non-existent stairs behind a low panel. They simulated elevator rides and revolving doors and made it seem as if the world's longest arms belonged with the only visible head.

This happy madness is called ``Annimotion,'' and kids love it because grown-ups are doing what they'd catch heck for if they tried it in school -- unless they were invited onstage by the Seattle Mime Theatre.

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