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Wednesday, Mar 19 2008

According to the dictionary, "mimetic" means "imitative." Given that this original play is set primarily at the San Francisco Zoo, the title could be referring to the actors mimicking animals. Or maybe the performers are playing animals mimicking humans. After 90 minutes, you can't be sure, which is frustrating. The company wrote the script collaboratively, and cites Anton Chekhov, Vsevolod Meyerhold's Biomechanics (movement for actors), and Theater of the Oppressed founder Augusto Boal as inspirations. The result is an absurdist play with a fuzzy plot involving a group of humans (animals?) taking a city bus to the zoo as a sort of spiritual retreat. There are random mentions of banana pistols, monkey dung, and crossing the "perimeter." The incongruous dialogue is sprinkled with thoughts of dharma and fate, but often feels like random Tourette's outbursts ("You move slower than a three-day fuck!" and "When you masturbate, God kills a Republican!"). There are some fine examples of skillful physical comedy, especially by cofounder Noah Kelley, and the group meshes well as an ensemble, with some hilarious moments such as the synchronized dancing at the end. But the play's humor is somewhat undermined by its absurdity, which often leaves the audience bewildered. On the night I attended, the audience member to my left kept mumbling, "What the fuck?" and then laughing bemusedly. I concur.

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Nathaniel Eaton


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