A Mime´s Life
Review by Willard Manus


LOS ANGELES-- Richmond Shepard was once a mainstay of the L.A. theatre scene. While managing a complex of small theatres in Hollywood, he
produced and directed dozens of plays in the 80s, finding time as well
to occasionally perform as a mime. Trained by Etienne Decroux and Alvin
Epstein, Shepard headed his own troupE for many years and was singled
out as "America's foremost mime" by the author of Pantomime: The Silent


The vagaries of show business took Shepard back to his hometown New
York a decade ago, but now he has returned to L.A. in A MIME'S LIFE, a
new show in which he shows off his mimetic gifts to superb advantage.
Written and directed by Shepard, the revue not only showcases Shepard's
solo skills but features five other young mimes who are able to hold their own with him (Janna Papsueyva, Edward Grigorian, Emily Faedra Calabrese and Cher Ferreyra).

An easygoing and sweet-humored show, A MIME'S LIFE is comprised of
seven sketches interspersed with Shepard's comments about the whiteface
craft and bits and pieces from a previous solo show of his, Standup Mime. The sketches poke silent fun (punctuated with music and sound effects by Omar Kaczmarczyj) at such targets as our automobile age, the wild west, kung fu, men in space and pinball arcades. James Thurber provided some of the text, with Caleb Chung & Gary Schwartz contributing the idea for "The Dawn of Mime"--five apes capering about while slapping coldcream on their hairy faces.

Funny stuff from a talented group headed by a uniquely gifted leader. In his 70s, Shepard remains as trim, agile and expressive as ever. Let's hope L.A. will manage to keep him here this time.

(Through Feb 24 at Stages Theatre Center, 1540 N. McCadden Place,
Hollywood. Call (213) 465-1010).