Unprecedented. Unparalleled. Critical. Careful. Impactful. Game changing. Hopeful. Worrisome. Fearful. Stressful. Nerve wracking. Nauseating.
Anxiety, - “the likes of which we’ve never seen before”.
And then, finally – relief! Although the numbers were closer than desired, the voters have prevented another four years of ravings and lies from the Wizard of Id. We dropped a house on him and with a lot more work, maybe in January we can drop the senate on him too.
For 61 years the San Francisco Mime Troupe has borne witness to the wins and losses of the progressive movement, and from our stage we report the stories of workers, women, LGBTQ and BIPOC whose struggles are its fuel. Social change does not come easy, and some years it seems almost impossible.
As for most of us, when this off-the-rails year finally careens to a close, our 2020 hindsight will provide a stark contrast to our initial 2020 vision. We have learned a lot, mostly about what we did not know. Forced into a worldwide time-out has offered all of us an opportunity to reflect inwardly and outwardly and examine our complicity in the societal inequities and travesties that have surfaced during this ongoing nightmare. We also found ourselves to be resourceful and resilient in ways untested until now.
At the Troupe - actually in front of our individual screens at home - we adjusted our summer show plan and found a new way to exercise our First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly. While the world was discovering Zoom, we rediscovered radio! With the nine-part series, Tales of the Resistance, we were able to mirror the changing current events in real time from the 4th of July through to Halloween (still available, suggested $10 donation per episode). Working remotely let us expand our creative core to include out of the area Troupers and other actors new to SFMT. Our closets became recording studios and Radio Mime Troupe was born, like so many other good things amidst the pandemic.
Michael Gene Sullivan also launched MimeCast, a series of biographical podcast interviews of current and veteran members of San Francisco Mime Troupe.
Listen to: Hugo Carbajal, Lizzie Calogero, Keiko Shimosato Carreiro, Rotimi Agbabiaka, Bruce Barthol, Wilma Bonet, Ed Holmes, Gabby Momah, Amos Glick, Daniel Savio, Brian Rivera – and hear their stories before their time with SFMT, their development as artists, and their lives in general.
Moving forward, but without knowing how life would play out, SFMT continued to adapt and alter our plans in response to the altered reality. This fall we recorded a radio version of our 2018 show, Seeing Red. With an accompanying study guide, which is available FREE for classroom use in high schools & colleges (available now, suggested donation $20).
We will close out the year with a workers’ perspective adaptation of the Dickens holiday classic, A Red Carol (available for a limited time on this website Dec 11 - Jan 17, suggested donation $20).
With the ability to reach a broader audience with these recordings,
we have decided to continue ongoing radio programming
even after we can leave our homes and get back in the parks.
And in March 2021, we will commemorate the 25th Anniversary of our Youth Theater Project (YTP) with an online production highlighting new student work and a special video retrospective. We proudly celebrate YTP’s years of giving future activist artists skills and a platform to let their voices be heard as they learn to speak truth to power.
Applications are due Dec 15! Click Here to Apply or Get More Info!
We were able to make these artistic pivots because we had already been awarded some pre-pandemic government and foundation grants. Now, many funders will (necessarily) turn their sights towards social programs that help the many left financially stranded by the pandemic. Without our park shows, we forfeited the audience “hat” donations which make up a sizable portion of our income overall, and the majority of our non-grant income.
We understand that your coffers are likely also depleted, especially after this election cycle. Nevertheless, we are seeking your help with a tax-deductible donation that will support the future of YTP and Radio Mime during this “unprecedented” time. You can also help by doing your holiday shopping at the Mime Boutique! We have a large inventory of merchandise purchased to sell in the park this past summer... Help us out and order no later than December 15 for your holiday delivery!
There has been little to laugh about this last year, and there is no doubt that there is much to do to get this train back on track and make up for time lost. We may still be wearing masks for a while, but behind them a sea of smiles will return because we just reminded ourselves that the power is still in the hands of the people. Let’s keep it that way.
Always In Solidarity,
the San Francisco Mime Troupe