Mummenschanz to Bring Art of Il­lu­sion to St. Johns­bury Academy

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEF - St. John­burry, VT

Leg­endary Swiss-based the­ater troupe Mummenschanz will per­form an all-ages, fam­ily-fa­vorite show at St. Johns­bury Academy’s Fuller Hall on Tues­day, Jan­uary 19 as part of the KCP Presents Per­form­ing Arts Se­ries. Show­time is 7:00 pm. Mummenschanz uses props, masks, shadow, light, and hu­mor to con­vey time­less sto­ries with broad hu­man ap­peal – all with­out us­ing any mu­sic or di­a­logue.

Founded in Paris in 1972 by An­dres Bos­sard, Flo­ri­ana Fras­setto and Bernie Schürch, Mummenschanz are world-renowned pi­o­neers of the genre known as vis­ual the­ater. Their per­for­mances, some­times likened to those of pop­u­lar con­tem­po­rary dance troupe MOMIX, are con­structed of unique il­lu­sion­ist skits. Us­ing move­ment and ges­ture to com­mu­ni­cate uni­ver­sally-rec­og­nized ex­pe­ri­ences and emo­tions, Mummenschanz have de­lighted and be­guiled au­di­ences in 60 coun­tries span­ning five con­ti­nents.

The group be­came widely known in the United States fol­low­ing a 1976 spe­cial guest ap­pear­ance on the first sea­son of The Mup­pet Show, and en­joyed a sen­sa­tional three-year run on Broad­way from 1977-1979. With con­tin­ued time­less ap­peal, Mummenschanz have toured in­ter­na­tion­ally now for 43 years.

Mummenschanz – the name used for both the troupe and the per­for­mance it­self – is Ger­man for “mum­mery”, or a play in­volv­ing mimes. But co-founder Fras­setto de­scribes the troupe’s cap­ti­vat­ing use of light, color, chore­og­ra­phy and sur­real touches as be­ing closer to the Swiss Car­ni­val tra­di­tion than to white mask pan­tomime. What­ever you call it, the show has a way of pulling au­di­ences in. New York Times critic Ken Jawarowski writes, “While my in­ner grump tried to scoff at ‘Mummenschanz’, my in­ner kid sel­dom stopped grin­ning.”

In a world with so much noise, per­haps the most daz­zling as­pect of Mummenschanz is the group’s skill at en­gag­ing au­di­ences of all ages while re­main­ing non-ver­bal. Jawarowski adds, “Now the show is par­tic­u­larly vi­tal to young au­di­ences who’ve been raised on beep­ing gad­gets and head­phones, and rarely ex­pe­ri­ence the ex­tra­or­di­nary power of si­lence.”

More in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets are avail­able at KCPp­re­sents.org or through the NEK Re­gional Box Of­fice at 802-757-5559. The KCP Presents Per­form­ing Arts Se­ries is pro­duced by Cata­mount Arts work­ing in as­so­ci­a­tion with King­dom County Pro­duc­tions and with grant sup­port from the Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts. For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact An­drea Kane, (802) 349-0749 or email di­rec­tor@kcpp­re­sents.org.

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