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Take Shape

An entertaining full-length program of 10 fast-paced mime pieces performed by a dynamic ensemble that are comical, thoughtful and enigmatic.

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David Jenkins, Jae Woo, Marissa Molnar and Tasha Milkman in a scene from Broken Box Mime Theater’s production of “Take Shape” at the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres (Photo credit: Bjorn Bolinder)

Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly, Critic

An astronaut in a space station, a YouTube cooking show, evicted apartment residents and a romance on the rocks are a few of the dramatic and antic incidents depicted in Take Shape, an entertaining full-length program of mime. It’s presented by the Broken Box Mime Theater (BKBX), which was founded in 2011, and whose mission is “to activate the imagination of our audiences, to contemporize the art of mime, and to remind us all of the simple power of storytelling.”

Take Shape is a collaboration by the company’s members, many of whom appear in rotation at various performances. This creative troupe is comprised of Nick Abeel, Becky Baumwoll, Ismael Castillo, Julia Cavagna, Géraldine Dulex, Blake Habermann, David Jenkins, Marissa Molnar, Kristin McCarthy Parker, Tasha Milkman, Regan Sims, Jae Woo and Josh Wynter.

Blake Haberman, Becky Baumwoll, Géraldine Dulex, Kristin McCarthy Parker and Marissa Molnar in a scene from Broken Box Mime Theater’s production of “Take Shape” at the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres (Photo credit: Bjorn Bolinder)

The dynamic ensemble is clad in traditional all-black, with their faces adorned with light white makeup; they offer an engaging and accomplished demonstration of the art of mime. Each of the distinctive performers’ physical fluidity, precise gestures and expressive facial features richly render the various roles. Performed on a sizeable bare playing area with the occasional addition of black wooden blocks, the staging has an often-exhilarating choreographed quality. The assured placement of everyone, couples, various groups and solos, is all seamlessly interwoven for accomplished presentational effect.

The Broken Box Mime Theater’s artistic credo also involves high-tech production design which is on display in Take Shape. Yang Yu’s rapid eclectic lighting, Bill Toles’ varying modulated sound and Cinthia Chen’s moody abstract projections all are theatrical enhancements. Music director Jack McGuire’s clever original score references pop melodies, electronic and science fiction themes which all perfectly accompany the sequences.

David Jenkins, Becky Baumwoll, Marissa Molnar, Kristin McCarthy Parker and Jae Woo in a scene from Broken Box Mime Theater’s production of “Take Shape” at the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres (Photo credit: Bjorn Bolinder)

The show’s program lists the pieces and performers sometimes hold up title cards. It’s possible to just take in the totality of the experience rather than trying to distinguish each sequence and its actual plot. Take Shape lasts one hour and 40 minutes including an intermission which should be considered by those who are ambivalent about mime.

Take Shape’s superior mime presentation affirms BKBX’s goal of “reimagining the medium for contemporary audiences…”

Take Shape (April 1 – May 1, 2022)

Broken Box Mime Theater

Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres, 502 West 53rd Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, visit http://www.brokenboxmime.com

Running time: one hour and 40 minutes with one intermission

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Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (804 Articles)
A native New Yorker, Darryl Reilly graduated from NYU with a BFA in Cinema Studies. For the Broadway League, (formerly The League of American Theatres and Producers) he developed, and for five years conducted their Broadway Open House Tours, which took visitors through The Theatre District and into several Broadway theaters. He contributed to Broadway Musicals Show by Show: Sixth Edition (Applause Books). Since 2013, he has reviewed theater, cabaret, and concerts for Theaterscene.net.

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