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SF Mime Troupe Celebrates 60 years with musical comedy “Treasure Island”

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Keiko Shimosato Carreiro (John Livesey), Michael Gene Sullivan (Benny Gunn), Lizzie Calogero (Jill Hawkins), Andre Amarotico (William Bones), Brian Rivera (L.J. Silver) in Treasure Island. Photo: Mike Melnyk

It says it right on the side of the giant truck that transports their self-contained outdoor theater set: “Not that kind of mime!” Far from being silent, the San Francisco Mime Troupe has presented musical comedies in the parks for 60 years, making them the longest running political comedy troupe in the USA. Every July 4th marks the debut of SFMT’s show in Dolores Park, a production that will travel around Bay Area parks for the 2019 summer season. The shows are free, although after seeing how hard these performers work for your entertainment in the hot sun, it’s difficult not to be moved to drop as much cash as you can afford in their donation buckets.

As a San Francisco native, seeing the Mime Troupe at Dolores Park on July 4th has always been a family tradition. Still, I am shocked at how many people are unaware of the Mime Troupe and their long history. SF is seeing many of its famed long-standing institutions close, disband and forced to leave the area. The SFMT stands strong for 60 years with an eye to the future. Their shows are far from fluffy comedies. Each year they explore topical issues through the eyes of the working class, exploring radical ideas of how our world could be changed for the better. If we want San Francisco to remain a place for artists and progressive thinkers, this is exactly the type of organization to support.

This year’s show explores the development of Treasure Island, California by unscrupulous developers. Using the classic pirate novel Treasure Island as its inspiration the show is the story of Hawkins, a civil servant in San Francisco, who accidentally stumbles upon the plans of a developer, L.J. Silver. Through bribery and brutality, Silver is overriding all the clear health, safety, and human concerns regarding the development of Treasure Island, and it’s all for his own greed. You can see a preview of the show here. You can find their touring schedule here.

The show is based on real events, and may prove to be prophetic as many of their past shows have been. Their 2016 show correctly predicted the election of Donald Trump at a time when his candidacy was still considered a joke.

“TREASURE ISLAND – A Toxic Tale of Corporate Corsairs, Swashbuckling Swindlers, and Big Buck Buccaneers on the Bay!” runs July 4 – Sept. 8, 2019 throughout the Bay Area.

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