| bh productions & dean cameron in
the sacred fools theater
seen in the documentary The
in Girly Magazine Party
|"Astonishingly creative and
hilariously lewd!" - NY Post
|"Silently offensive mime!"
Reviews of the Sacred Fools performances!
BACK! 7 SHOWS ONLY!
Oct. 4, 11, 18 & Nov. 1, 8, 15, 22
Tuesdays at 8pm
Mime Guild Members $9
18 & OVER
to the Theater
appearing at "360," the annual
Performance Marathon - Sunday, Nov. 19 @ 7pm
IS BILLY THE MIME?
Billy The Mime has amazed audiences and made them think for many years. Billy recently garnered national attention due to his show stopping performance in the smash hit documentary
Now, you can see a full evening of Billy performing his classic routines and world premieres.
Billy The Mime is a true artist who is not afraid to tackle controversial subject matter and stretch the very boundaries of the art of mime with such routines as
Dreams Of A Young Crippled Boy, JFK JR. We Hardly Knew Ye, The Abortion, A Night In San Francisco: 1977, Slave!, Close To Her: Memories of Karen Carpenter, World War II, Terry Schiavo - Adieu, A Man Named Manson, A Day Called
9/11 and The Little Clown.
Billy The Mime believes that the art of mime can address many of the social ills and problems that plague us today; addressing current events pulled straight from today’s headlines as well as historical events and people.
This is not your grandparent’s mime show.
In conjunction with Billy’s performance a special
The Art of Billy The Mime, a one-man art show, will be on display at the theater, featuring Billy’s amazing and fantastical art work, all available for purchase.
Billy The Mime is not affiliated with Bili The Mime.
WEEKLY (Pick of the Week!)
As in fifth-century Athens, where a theater seat was always reserved for Dionysus, Billy the Mime reserves a front-row seat for his avatar Marcel
Marceau, though he tackles thornier issues than Marceau did, and takes a darker view. Though he’s always funny, his routines are likely to produce gasps of shock, moans of sympathy, or giggles of discomfort, as well as guffaws. He performs capsule biographies of Van Gogh, JFK Jr., Karen Carpenter, Thomas Jefferson and Terri
Schiavo, and he encompasses historical cataclysms (World War II, 9/11) in under five minutes. “The Priest and the Altar Boy” looks at child molestation in the church, “Slave!” encapsulates the horrors of slavery, and “The Abortion” provides a gut-wrenching tale in which Billy plays mother, doctor and fetus. (Note: The program varies from performance to performance.) The climactic scene of the performance I attended was “The Clown and Beautiful Woman,” in which Billy falls in love with a woman from the audience, and leads her through a dance that segues from waltz, to square dance, Irish jig, Swan Lake, jitterbug and cancan. Even this exuberant piece ends in mock tragedy.
© 2005 L.A.
WEST (Critic's Pick!)
Mime is one of those things like sweet cocktails--something nobody who wants to be seriously considered an adult can profess a taste for. Eventually you outgrow your fondness for the entrenched whimsy of childlike performers in whiteface and the whole goddamn wonder of it all. Either that or you channel this energy into a Thomas Kinkade collection.
Despite his boyish moniker, Billy the Mime is from another school of performance entirely. Purely by chance, his act takes place on Joel Daavid's draped sepulchral set for the concurrently running Gorey Stories, a fine locale for Billy's repertoire, which visits the theme of death with remarkable frequency. Selections not seen the night reviewed, yet nonetheless piquing interest, are "Kurt Cobain: Why?" "The Short, Sad Life of Sylvia Plath," and "Columbine: School's Out." He does not get by on clever titles alone, though. His selection "Thomas & Sally-Night at Monticello" is a fascinating bit of social observation, concerning the recurring interruption of surreptitious presidential foreplay with the president's duties in another room as host. Billy's eye for detail is impeccable and put to uses rarely seen on the silent stage. "Slave!" is practically an epic. In less than five minutes it recounts an African villager's life from its cruel interruption to its end without muddling the story line, aided in great part by Jenene Wiedemer's clean sound cues. Two tragic ladies of American popular culture are given their due: one in a concise study of fame and bulimia, "Close to Her: Karen Carpenter," and one a faultless re-creation of that relentlessly guileless visage that kept the country at odds for so long, "Terry Schiavo, Adieu."
The creator's mordant wit has a way of making the most seemingly unsavory topics fodder, to wit: the trenchant encapsulation of bureaucratically protected child abuse, "The Priest and the Altar Boy." Two pieces are uncharacteristically facile, however. "A Day Called 9/11" delves no further than stereotype, and "A Night in San Francisco: 1979" adds nothing to the story of AIDS in its early days-though it should be noted that his character work is terrific here. These are but quibbles, though, relative to the debt of gratitude owed an artist who makes mime safe for grownups once more.
© 2005 BackStage
Whispering Out Loud
Telepathy is merely a concept, right?
Not if you attended one or both performances of that mime genius known as Billy the Mime at Sacred Fools Theatre in Hollywood.
Before you, complete stories unfold, mind you, untold.
As the mime contorts, points, jumps and turns, completely coherent and understandable narratives are transmitted from him to the audience and by the sounds of it, most spectators are not only understanding him but bursting out in laughter with the subtleties of his jokes.
The themes are both understated and obvious: JFK Jr., A Day Called 9/11, San Francisco Days 1979, Romance, A beautiful woman in the park, A crippled boy’s dreams and these are just a few of the more than two dozen routines he covered during his show.
As he salutes on his knees, you realize Billy’s parodying the famous photograph of JFK junior at his father’s funeral. You guess the rest: dating, dating, dating, flying, dying. Not in a lifetime could I guess so much information can be transmitted so accurately with mimicry.
When Billy introduces the dreams of a crippled boy, you actually get to ‘see’ what the boy dreams about while fighting his particular handicap. Billy’s expressivity surpasses that of most storytellers who have the luxury of speech. Billy the mime needs only a suggestive title for his routine and the rest, his silent impersonations will clarify it for everyone to understand.
Love’s roller-coaster is tackled in a routine aptly titled Romance. As he lies facing up with his back against the stage, his hands are the only tools to convey the complicated dynamics of couples: love, hate, passion, sex, disagreement, anger… all these so often experienced emotions are brought to life by the convincing motion of his two hands and arms. By the time the ‘couple’ gets ready to make love and one of the hands dons a huge yellow glove, the audience was hollering. No one attending could pretend they didn’t understand.
Politically charged topics are a fertile territory for mimes. After all, Censors from your friendly government agency will have a hard time claiming you ‘said’ something against the law of the land. Mimes, like comedians, are one of the few categories in the arts where a complete frontal attack against the establishment is not only permitted but expected. Billy the Mime was no exception: Bush during 9/11, the terrorists, gays and AIDS, Drug usage… nothing is taboo for someone who without the need for words can still thoroughly ‘cover’ these topics.
Sacred Fools Theatre deserves commendation for their constant effort to bring to their stage truly daring performers. To have a sold-out show two nights in a row sounds almost like a miracle for a Mime spectacle, but that’s precisely what happened. But when you get to see Billy doing his routine, you understand why:
In front of you, someone’s bodily contortions are whispering
– directly inside your brain - clear meaning and connotation.
Apparently storytelling, in Billy the Mime’s case, needs no telling.
© 2005 SoCal.com
American culture hasn’t been kind to mimes. Billy the Mime returns the favor. Not content with feeling the walls of an invisible cell or climbing an invisible ladder, and beyond miming on the street for change, Billy performs in the theater and portrays human trauma for laughs. Consider the comedy of the routine called “The Abortion,” with Billy in classic mime black bodysuit and
whited-out face, portraying a pregnant woman, her doctor, and the struggling fetus who ends the scene in a garbage can. The audience laughed and laughed.
Why is that funny at all? Well, partly there’s the dissonance of a gentle mime portraying such awful events. Minnie Mouse or Barbie having an abortion would also create dark comedy. Partly some awfulness needs to be mocked, as Charlie Chaplin claimed when he portrayed Hitler in The Great Dictator (although that film was made in relative innocence before the war even started).
Billy himself mimics Hitler rising from painter to fascist in the routine World War II. This routine showcases Billy’s acute judgment in selecting just the right shared cultural references for his routines. Besides Hitler, there’s Anne Frank writing in her diary (Billy finally gets to climb an invisible staircase to her loft), a Hula dancer getting gunned down by a plane in Pearl Harbor, and an American pilot dropping the Bomb on Japan. Billy can even do a mushroom cloud. In
JFK, Jr. We Hardly Knew Ye, Billy includes the boy saluting at his father’s funeral, the young man sleeping around, the three attempts at the Bar Exam, the marriage, and the fatal flight, including opening the door for his disliked sister-in-law, and then, in parody, trying to read the flight manual. In Thomas & Sally – A Night at Monticello, Billy cleverly details Thomas Jefferson having to open the arch of buttons popular on trousers of the time, as he prepares for sex with his slave.
By the way, the show’s not appropriate for children. Besides the abortion procedure, the performance includes Billy giving and receiving fellatio and anal sex, cutting off his ear, finding spots on his penis, vomiting, molesting a boy, and so on.
As a mime, Billy has all the skills down. He brings impressive artistry and even sensitivity to his dark materials. He also takes himself seriously, esoterically noting in the program that he is NOT to be confused with “Bili” the Mime, and claiming credit for having “dreamed, conceived, and written” the routines. Billy puts on tamer shows, at least I assume so as the program notes mention his school performances. But his heart belongs to the inappropriate side, as can be seen in his filmed performance in The Aristocrats. The audience embraced Billy and his evening of outré humor, and Billy reciprocated.
© 2005 Eye
Heliotrope, after sunset. Alone at a table outside. Sitting and waiting, drinking nothing, doing nothing. Snug in a wool scarf, dangling. Water pipes in the display window, a lot of them; a lot of coffee and emptiness inside. The barista decides “screw it” and takes the opposing table outside, to smoke a Marlboro Light and read a few more pages.
He takes peeks at her and she at him, and neither says anything. For minutes, for minutes more, for half an hour. They sit there, two feet apart, silently, a tangle of psy-op pantomime.
Mime. The art flourishes where there is quiet cafe culture and empty pockets; it withers where culture goes boom and yellow and retail. The artistry of mime has a fragile, music box quality known to those who stay hungry, who look more in than out; it’s this fragility that distances the art of the mime from most Americans, who generally like big, shiny, noisy, explosive things, and who think of mimes as frivolous, feminine, French. In a society built on spectacle and the literal and things for sale, the humble, silent, often abstract world of the mime artistry is lost. It only exists to cafe culture, to quiet people who know daily life.
I once said to a friend that my favorite film of all time was Marcel Carne’s Children of Paradise, and the friend didn’t talk to me for two years. I’m one of those hapless American souls for whom movies can exist without explosions and music is often best when you can barely hear it, for whom hours contemplating the arcane are days well spent. So I’m naturally vulnerable to mimes even if most friends and lovers are not.
I’m not so much for the mimes that accost you on the street in a busy commercial district or who escort you to the correct room at a publisher’s party. I’m for mimes standing on stage, alone, with little beyond themselves to work with, as God and Batiste intended. And last night I saw Billy the Mime perform at Sacred Fools, saw him for the first time, and I was put in touch again with why the art of the mime is so precious when you see it, and also so lost when the show is over.
Some of you may know Billy the Mime for stealing an abundantly tough-to-pilfer show in The Aristocrats, the documentary about the telling and telling and telling of one of the world’s best-known lewd jokes. But I hope you give yourself the opportunity to see him live on a stage.
As a classically-trained mime artist with a dream pedigree, Billy’s motions, even when they are at their most profane (and they often are) are straight out of mime’s most classic tradition. But where he breaks all previous boundaries is in his skit selection. With skits like “JFK Jr. We Hardly Knew Ye” and “A Day Called 9/11″ (early on, a terrorist pauses on the plane to adjust the air on his seat, for greater comfort) many in the audience are uncertain if they should reward some little recognized detail with laughter or gasps (a gentleman sitting behind me had no problem with the distinction, laughing at the evening’s most harrowing moments). If you thought The Aristocrats performance pushed the mime-envelope for possibility, you haven’t yet seen A Night in San Francisco: 1979.
Nor have you likely seen mime incorporating such literacy. Half the joy of watching Billy’s fluid body and gestures is to discover what is iconic about the subject, and watching the iconic given a literate wheeze. I don’t want to spoil the surprise of these, but I’ll give an example: a skit that ends in a lynching takes a page out of the hanging in Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge. In my own favorite piece, Thomas & Sally - a Night at Monticello, a prim and proper Jefferson, face full of genius, works a bottle of wine in a restrained but sensuous way that speaks to his complex sexual hypocrisy; the way he unbuttons himself alone is devastating to both our own ideas of Jefferson and Jefferson’s legacy alike.
In a typical night of Billy (he selects from a couple dozen skits in pocket) lot of buttons come undone and zippers get unzipped, but all in the exquisite movement that we expect to see in classic mime. The show isn’t for the easily offended, but then again, what is? Certainly retail culture, on-screen explosions, chatting up the barista when she’s trying to steal a private cafe moment is far more profane. The “victims” in most Billy skits come away with all the sympathy, so much so that the evening can feel at times as much morality play as pantomime.
© 2005 Martini