S.F. Mime Troupe Spreads Joy & Jokes for Truth & Justice
by Robert M. Gardner
Despite the vaunted liberalism of San Francisco where we supposedly have policies to help the poor and the unhoused, the City’s convoluted programs are tricky to navigate. And right wingers tell Big Lies about the City all the time.
In “Breakdown, A New Musical,” by the great S.F. Mime Troupe, all the City’s issues are thrust into the light. Although we celebrate our diversity with cultural parades, as a community we turn away from the poor, the unhoused, and the mentally ill.
In its 64th year of funny, satirical, and FREE performances, The San Francisco Mime Troupe points out the damned lies spread by Fox news about the City. After opening in Berkley and San Francisco, they continue every weekend until Labor Day in parks around the Bay and Northern California.
The acclaimed Mime Troupe covers the plight of the poor with serious comedy and witty songs, leaving little room for complacency. In addition to good fun, they leave us with questions about our present government. The iconic social worker Saida (Alicia M.P. Nelson) tries to help Yume (Kina Kantor) who is forced to live in a tent. She offers Yume hot chocolate, a sandwich, and warm-hearted care.
The lovable neighborhood wise man Mr. Stereos (Andrea Amarotico) tries to help, but he is thwarted by “bright idea guy” Felix (Jed Paraisio). But it’s hard to help people when Rupert Murdoch is feeding everyone lies.
The show is kid friendly, and the language is inspiring and enriching. Kids will laugh and learn, too. Brilliant costumes, slapstick action, and intriguing dances please kids and parents alike. I found myself enjoying “Breakdown” for its music, its comedy, and its sheer joy.
“Breakdown” exposes many of San Francisco’s dirty little secrets, asserting that the City has lost much of its liberalism and become a mere suburb of Silicon Valley. The Mime Troupe speaks truth to power, with lively comic actors jumping quickly into many roles.
With the insightful writing of Michael Gene Sullivan and Marie Cartier, “Breakdown” shows that the only neighborhood where you can find affordable housing is the Tenderloin. Right wing Fox broadcaster Marcia Stone (Jamella Cross) says: “San Francisco……where the welfare state stagnates, and Liberal lies languish in putrid potholes of progressivism!” She keeps on trashing the City, spewing lots of “fake news.”
The Fox propagandist claims that the Tenderloin is “where muggers mug, robbers rob, dealers deal, and there isn’t a police officer in sight.” “Breakdown” exposes the right-wing conspiracy to defame and discredit SF policies—using lies and propaganda.
We all need to see “Breakdown.” The Mime Troupe speaks hard truths with accomplished singers, great songs, and a superb group of musicians. They make no attempt to hide the fact that they are dyed in the wool socialists—in the best sense of the word.
The crowd was a mixed group, ranging from seniors in broad sun hats to babes in carriages, all of whom pay rapt attention, and really love the musical. Indeed, it’s a great day in the sun, full of bright costumes, funny songs, and superb set designs. Even the kids will be inspired to take action!
“BREAKDOWN, A New Musical” by Michael Gene Sullivan with Marie Cartier, directed by Michael Gene Sullivan, music & lyrics by Daniel Savio, costume design by Keiko Shimosato Carreiro, scenic design by Carlos Aceves, choreography by AeJay Mitchell, by The San Francisco Mime Troupe. Info: SFMT.org – to September 4, 2023 – FREE, in Parks near You.
Cast: Andre Amarotico, Jamella Cross, Alicia M. P. Nelson, Jed Pasario, Kina Kantor, and Taylor Gonzalez.
SFMT Band: Breakfast, Guinevere Q, and Jason Young.
Banner photo: Jamella Cross & Alicia M.P. Nelson. Photo by ADAN
FREE in PARKS around the Bay & Northern California: