The international "Jubilee Tour" celebrating the 40th anniversary of "Mummenschanz", the one-of-a-kind theatrical experience that is the brainchild of Floriana Frassetto and Bernie Schürch, is underway. If you live in or near one of the destination cities, don't miss the chance to be transported to a magical alternate universe where fanciful "mime masque" creatures cavort in a production that is perfectly paced and often laugh-out-loud funny. Bring your inner child as well as the children in your life for a guaranteed mood-booster evening you won't soon forget.
What is so astonishing is that the entire two-hour show is performed by only four artists as they change into numerous costumes and masques with lighting speed. All of the cast memebrs, including the two founders who must be in their 60s by now, are admirably agile. They variously writhe, leap, and undulate during the slice-of-life sketches, for which there is no musical accompaniment. The troupe has been dubbed the "Musicians of Silence" and the effect is mesmerizing. The only sounds you'll hear are applause and laughter, especially the rippling giggles of the delighted youngsters in the audience.
The New York City run at New York University's Skirball Center began on December 15th 2012 and will continue through January 6th 2013. For those of you who might plan to attend one of the performances, be forewarned that the area around NYU is a maze of diagonal and oddly intersecting streets, unlike the easy-to-navigate grid of Midtown Manhattan. Get directions here for public transportation and for parking but be prepared to ask for help if you get lost, which I did even though I'm a New Yorker and my daughter went to NYU!
Still, your quest to find the theater will be more than worth the effort. In the words of Hans Jörg Tobler, founder and late chairman of the Mummenschanz Foundation, the company members are "magicians of the silence that shades off the burden of our everyday life and brightens the heart." Indeed they are.