MUMMENSCHANZ is currently playing at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater through July 22.
By Rachel A.
A true performance for all ages, the silent theater of MUMMENSCHANZ returns to New York for a limited engagement of “you & me,” a new program developed in 2016. This new company, still headed by founding member Floriana Frassetto, does a wonderful job of expressing a broad gamut of emotions, without ever showing the audience their faces. MUMMENSCHANZ has been exciting show-goers across five continents for over forty years, and this run will do the same.
The ‘stories’ told are unique in that they have no sound or music. The troupe dresses completely in black and then dons “mask-objects,” often larger than their bodies. The masks and costumes are constructed from a quite varied range of materials including plastic, cardboard, foam, clay, and rubber. The characters evolve against a black background, contorting themselves in ways that form familiar objects, animals or emotions, in a playful language that can be understood by all. It’s incredible to watch how folds in a material can convey expression and how, as the fabric changes, the sentiments evolve. In this relatively intimate theater, the audience has excellent views of all the show’s details.
“you & me” includes many vignettes dealing with relationships. Sea creatures, brick people, tubes all interact in pairs. While children will enjoy the noiseless banter between the duos, adults will appreciate the commentary each scene provides on the complexities of communicating with friends or lovers. Who is the dominant member of each team? What happens when the couple disagrees, or each wants the same object for themselves? The humor in each act stems from the reality the actors portray.
There are a few interactive scenes in the 80-minute performance, where the audience becomes part of the show. The small cast can handle improvisation as well as their rehearsed scenes. When the troupe of six bows at the end, you will be amazed that so few actors have played so many roles.
One note: This is a family show. If you are bothered by children whispering, consider attending an evening performance.
More information HERE.