Wednesday, 24 March 2004

72 HOur Mime Project, March 24, 2004

The 72 Hour Mime Project  
by Jason Lehane and Danny Diesendorf
 Store Room, 22 March to 11 April, 2004
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

You will be pleased to know that the 72 Hour Mime Project runs just one hour. As one character quips, "No-one can stand more than three hours of mime."

There are the seeds of a clever parody in this show. It has two engaging actors (Jason Lehane, Danny Diesendorf) and several charming moments but at present it feels unfinished and rambling.

The highlights are the parodies of mime artists. The pair argues about the details of their mime. Is it a sheet writing paper they mime or a flimsy tissue paper?

What is a genuine and truthful mime response to being shot by a machine gun or a pistol? My favourite mime moment was when the villain Count Fritz Malzorius, (Diesendorf) wields a real sword and Lehane defends himself valiantly with a clanking mime sword.

The story works in two time periods. In 1884, Gilbert Lehane, once a famous Shakespearian actor, is reduced to appearing as a human slug in a sideshow.

It appears he has sold his soul for a kitbag of ancient mime tricks and he now flees Malzorius.

When he falls through the fifth dimensional mime world, The Mime-trix, (Get it? Matrix?) his world collides with his young ancestor, ,Lehane, in 2004.

Lehane and Diesendorf are struggling to create a new piece of theatre and finally decide in desperation upon Gilbert's own recipe for theatre, The 71 Hour Mime Project.

They go where no mime artist ever treads by extending it to a dangerous 72 hours.

Each idea in the piece has merit but needs some editing or reframing to reach its full potential.

The opening and closing scenes are the most compelling.

 At the beginning, Gilbert, in his slug suit, battles the evil Count. It looks as if it will be a Faustian story about selling one's soul to the devil x but we are disappointed.

The scenes about these two unpaid professionals ("We are not amateurs.") devising a show are too long, although the silly drama exercises are funny.

When they reach the final prolonged mime, the joy of intentionally clumsy mime is finally delivered.

LOOK FOR: The fight between real and mime sword.

By Kate Herbert

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