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November 11, 1988 - Image 81

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

11 4

A THANKSGIVING FEAST .

much concerned that he forge
his own definition of mime
which he prefers to call
`theatre without words.' "I
don't want to make Marcel,"
explains Boker. "I try to make
something else."
That something else, Boker
admits, is a calculated risk.
Because the mime world
seems to be inundated with
Marcel Marceau imitations,
clones of Bips, a different kind
of mime can be problematic,
at first anyway. "A lot of peo-
ple who don't know us say,
`We didn't think mime was
like this, " says Boker. If
some people don't know what
mime is others think they do.
"People are afraid of mime,"
says Boker. "Some think it is
too difficult, too abstract; and
some think it's clownish and
for children."
The Boker Mime Theatre
responds to and resolves such
issues in a variety of ways.
Boker is, primarily, a nar-
rative artist. "Every piece has
one story, one idea," explains
Boker. "Every piece must say
something." Each sketch,
whether it be "The
Photographer" which details
in a horrifyingly graphic way
anti-Semitism or "The
Race"about the Sisyphusian
futility of life, offers up to the
audience one message. If for
some the message appears to
didactically simple, for others
its very simplicity allows for
an understanding that might
otherwise escape the
audience.
When the troupe visited
Japan, for example, the piece
"Tenth for a Minyan" would
have been all but unintelligi-
ble to the audience. "But we
explained what a minyan
was," says Boker, "and even if
they didn't understand the
particular, they understood
the idea of waiting for the
tenth." In Israel, "Tenth for a
Minyan" is often understood
as a call for Diaspora Jews to
return home.
One of the strengths of the
troupe comes from this abili-
ty to "be read" in a variety of
ways, to be both specific and
general. In a work called
"Leaders," which is about the
folly of power and glory, the
company was obviously mim-
ing well-known Israeli politi-
cians, down to the ties they
wear and the medicines they
swallow, spouting their
nonsense gibberish to the
masses. But the work easily
moved beyond the particular
and made a very strong state-
ment understood by all.
Boker recognizes this duality.
"Some pieces are directly
reflecting on Israeli life," he
says. Such use of topical
themes is hardly new. Early
Roman mimes (40- B.C.E.)

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

81

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