Friday, December 04, 2015

Silence & Laughter Reign at 'Mummenschanz' in Berkeley

At the opening moments of two enormous puppet hands parting the heavy curtain of UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall at Sunday's performance of the Mummenschanz troupe, all audience members regardless of age were silent.

Soon enough, laughter broke out as the hands greeted each other and ninety-minutes of pure enjoyment began.

With no bright lights or sounds or electronic gizmos, I was amazed at how rapt the hundreds of children were as they watched the show.

No cries of "What's happening?" were heard from the kids. The loudest sounds were giggles of delight or applause.

Using foam rubber, plastic tubing, colored toilet paper, large pieces of billowing, pliable fabrics and a whole lot of imagination, the Mummenschanz performers made great use of the stage. Much of the troupe's presentation dazzled the eye. No need for narratives driving the many vignettes.

During several sketches, the jumpiness and anticipation of some children standing on their seats waiting for what came next, was palpable.

Mummenschanze was in Berkeley for only three performances and Mike and I feel sorry for folks who missed the shows, and have to wait for the company to return to the Bay Area to enjoy their wonderful creativity.

After the show, I ran into a friend from ACT UP/New York during the plague years, G'Dali Braverman and his mother. Mike and I spoke with them for a few minutes, about how we all adored the show.

G'Dali's two children were running around the Cal campus plaza and were soon collected by poppa and grandma, for the trip back to San Francisco.

What more could we ask for then a terrific time watching Mummenschanz live, then seeing a pal at the end?

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