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SF Mime Troupe's Entertaining Fast-Paced "2012-The Musical!"
Linda Ayres-Frederick
Tuesday, July 7, 2011

Torn between the demands of the well-heeled bankers and the voice of the working class, a troubled commedia masked President Obama opens SF Mime Troupe's 52nd season in 2012-The Musical at Dolores Park 4th of July weekend.  Directed energetically by Wilma Bonet, the multi-role playing cast includes SFMT regulars Michael Gene Sullivan (also 2012-TM's playwright), Lizzie Calogero, Keiko Shimosato and Victor Toman, along with Cory Censoprano and Siobhan Marie Doherty making their debut with the company.

2012--The Musical! is a lively satire about corporate funding and the art of mass distraction and holds up in 85 fast-paced minutes the SFMT tradition of "Power to the People" sensibilities. A small political theatre company, Theatre BAM! finds itself at a crossroads. Should they keep telling the stories they feel can change the world (and starve while telling them), or feed at the corporate trough, sell out and be the mouthpiece for The Man?

It's a tough decision. So when they are offered a commission from a "green" corporation that could save BAM! the company is very tempted. All they have to do is create a new show: 2012-The Musical!  But is it political? Will it keep with the company's original mission? And who's really bankrolling the production?

pre-publicity photo
Michael Gene Sullivan in Obama
mask for 2012-The Musical.
The latest show highlights the
ethical dilemna of taking financial support from corporations. Photo courtesy of SF MIME TROUPE.
For BAM!'s Artistic Director Elaine Marlowe (Lizzie Calogero) there is no question: all theatre is political, and corporate money corrupts politics. Unfortunately for her not all of her BAM! members agree-especially her sister, ex-artist turned hotshot investment banker Suze (Siobhan Marie Doherty). Doing pro-bono work for BAM! Suze sees the only way to survive in a corporate world is to take advantage of it.

Meanwhile downtown, Suze's boss Arthur Rand (Victor Toman) has his own problems. Government regulation of investment banking is stifling his profits and power. What's the point of unlimited campaign contributions if you still have to rely on politicians who work for The People? When Suze innocently suggests that a wholly-owned politician is legally possible, Rand gets a brilliant idea. His plan to convince people to vote for his openly corporate candidate Senator Pheaus (Michael Gene Sullivan) is working well until it hits some unexpected snafus-all to the benefit of Theatre BAM, which is facing its own challenges of stifling its ideals in the name of reality to live to fight another day. 

If this sounds like a particular dilemma faced by the OBIE and Tony Award winning Mime Troupe itself-they receive support from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as from other local corporate funders---it wouldn't be surprising. But given the home-grown lemon of a situation, SFMT has delivered a thirst-quenching ultimately satisfying lemonade product that doesn't miss a beat.

Of the six entertaining musical numbers "Party, Party, Party" tops them all with the hip-gyrating trio of Sullivan, Toman (also Choreography) and Cory Censoprano. The standout costumes that change at top-speed were designed by Emilica Sun Beahm.

With additional dialogue by Ellen Callas and featuring a live band under the direction of Pat Moran and music and lyrics by Moran and  Bruce Barthol, 2012-The Musical! plays through September 25 throughout the Bay Area. Admission is free and open to the public (unless otherwise noted) on their website or 415.285.1717.

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