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Project of the Month:

50 Years of Notorious Political Theatre

Inkworks has been printing beautiful posters advertising the free performances of the San Francisco Mime Troupe since our shop was founded. The Inkworks poster book, Visions of Peace & Justice, has six pages dedicated exclusively to the Mime Troupe making the theater group the single most well represented organization in the book! The shop recently printed a poster for the latest performance titled Too Big to Fail. The poster by Spain Rodriguez and a description of the show is included below after a short history of the Mime Troupe.

Left: Steel Town, Spain Rodriguez, 1983  
Right: The Uprising at Fuente Ovejuna, Rachael Romero, 1983

Founded in 1959, the San Francisco Mime Troupe (who, for those who may not be familiar, does NOT perform silently) is one of the oldest and arguably most notorious theatre groups in the country.  In its first 50 years, the Troupe has been censored, thrown in jail, banned from college campuses and entire cities, toured in war-torn countries, and launched the careers of many notables - including those of rock promoter Bill Graham, and actors Peter Coyote and Shabaka, among others. The group is as equally revered as it has been vilified, however, and has been honored with a Tony Award, three Obies, and numerous other accolades in its half century of free public performance and rabble-rousing.

Left: Seeing Double, Salim Yaqub, 1989  
Right: Factwino Meets the Moral Majority, Spain Rodriguez, 1981

Based in the traditions of commedia dell’arte, melodrama, and broad farce, the San Francisco Mime Troupe creates original musical comedies that both satirize and try to make sense of the headlines.  Past shows have tackled everything from racism (“A Minstrel Show, or Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel,”1965) and women’s rights (“The Independent Female,” 1970), to labor issues (“Steeltown,” 1984), the Israel-Palestine conflict (“Seeing Double,” 1989), gentrification (“City for Sale,” 1999), religious fundamentalism (“Godfellas,” 2006) and the seemingly endless fodder provided by the second Bush presidency (“1600 Transylvania Avenue,” 2001; “Making a Killing,” 2007).

Too Big to Fail, Spain Rodriguez, 2009

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