Last weekend at the Rockville Civic Center the Street 70 Theater Company Mime Troupe ended "Off the Wall," its first series of performances this season. The possibilities for an evening with the mime troupe range from ensemble mime/dance interludes using the entire company to virtuoso performances by a single artist.
The material for any particular performance is drawn from the company's current repertoire, which, one feels, has been slowly and carefully developed for an audience of extremely varied age, interests and theaterical tastes.
Among the outstanding features of this company is the flexibility of the performers in working both alone and in unison, as well as the breadth of its repertoire. Occasionally individual performances are lacking in clarity of execution. Mime, like dance, demands that the right thing happen at the right time, as well as the elimination of all superfluous moods.
The strongest pieces are those in which all seven performers function as a single dramatic unit. "The Chess Game" and "Odyssey" are among the more provocative works. Here the company is able to make use of skills it possesses in concept and execution which are greater than the skills, currently, of the individual performers. There are, fortunately, some good solo presentations including an interpretation by Will Robertson of Ambrose Bierce's "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." The sense of surprise at the conclusion of this well-known story can be attributed to the performer's creativity in dealing with the material.
The troupe's most rewarding work is "Ascent," which portrays a process of the spirit which we all share but for which we have no common name. This is mime in its ancient context, ritual, and more than naming, it reenacts a mystery of our existence.