The Invisible People | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Invisible People 


Falling somewhere between leisure suits and the song "Feelings" in the popular imagination, mime is an art we can no longer see for the cliches--walking against the wind, pushing imaginary walls, and other such bad copies of Marcel Marceau. It takes performers as original as Gregg Goldston and C. Nicholas Johnson, the brains behind the Ohio-based Goldston Mime Foundation, to reveal just how elegant, intelligent, and engaging this stigmatized form can be. Goldston in his solo work, for example, combines a dancer's grace and control with a silent comedian's timing to create terrifying, hilarious images: in one scene his head seems to fall out of alignment with his body and he panics, struggling like a bug on its back, trying to put himself back together. Later in the show Goldston returns to the mind-body question when his hands, swaying like strange tentacled sea creatures, declare their autonomy from the rest of his body and attempt to conquer the otherwise rigid Goldston, first with tickles, then with seductive caresses. Johnson, on the other hand, prefers to explore the lost art of ensemble mime work. These scenes--like the one in which a man and woman struggle valiantly against an umbrella with a mind of its own--recall the golden age of comedy, when Chaplins and Keatons ruled the earth. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 773-935-6860. Saturday, June 14, 8 PM. Then Friday, June 20, 8 PM. $15; $5 for children. --Jack Helbig

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Mark Berger.

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