By JAMES BARBER
Noon at the Vancouver Art Gallery Thursday the Intermedia Mime Troupe emerged from its shell for its first public performance, a short collection of wry little vignettes which as mime troupes have always done, held up the just slightly distorted mirror to our everyday faces.
And when the performance was over, Ten Hicks ("no, I haven't got a title, we're a democratic group") stood up and apologized for the audience having to pay so much for such a short program ("We don't get any of it anyway"), and very gently suggested that any contributions put in his hand at the door would be gratefully received. ("So that we, Can do some of the more ambitious things we have in mind for the summer.")
This was really the the significant part of the performance. There are at least three groups of young theater people working hard to make things happen for the summer, to liven the beaches and hopefully the park, to offer something unexpected and spontaneous to audiences who just happen to be some where at a time when they would like to stop and see.
And they all need money, not a lot but some, so that they can develop programs and ideas. And the city needs them, as part of its growth, not just to show us a little diversion or entertain idle moments, but also to show that any assembly of quiet and laughing people is not necessarily unlawful.
I remember last summer, one sunny sunday, some thirty or forty happy kids arrived in the little park across the street from my house. They played baseball, a beautiful game with two teams, an umpire,a cheering section and all the trimmings of a professional ball game. Bases were stolen in magnificent strides, home runs sent clear across the water to West Vancouver, pitchers wound up in excruciation agony before whipping off the curve ball, suddenly there were another 30 or 40 people watching and enjoying.
But suddenly the police arrived, and told them to break it up. Out of a hundred people having fun, there was not a bat or a ball or a uniform among them, just a beautiful pretend game, much more beautiful than reality. But it wasn't real, no bat, no ball, and as the man said,"you're just playing about."
Now the groups don't want money for bats and balls. What they need money for is much simpler — just money for a few materials and a little place to rent for storage and rehearsal.
But as much as anything else, they need the civic acceptance that seems only to come with financial commitment.
There will come a time when street theaters will be as common as flower baskets. And they cost a lot less.
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