Friday, September 9, 2016

Above Below

Produced by Broken Box Mime Theater

Nominated for: Outstanding Choreography/Movement, Becky Baumwoll; and Outstanding Performance Art Production

Photo by Bjorn Bolinder

About the Production
Through simple storytelling, Broken Box Mime Theater aims to activate it’s audiences’ imagination. Above Below was a production of a dozen short plays that challenged their audience to reevaluate their own placement in the world.

Artistic Director, Becky Baumwoll shares her thoughts on creating contemporary work though the traditional craft of mime. As she sums it up, "We're mimes! Yay mimes!"


What drew you to working on this piece?

Becky: Has BKBX is my heart and my home. We are drawn to mime because it distills theater down to its essentials, offering performers and audiences alike an incredibly powerful storytelling experience. We write as an ensemble, pitching, devising, and developing original, contemporary plays all through mime.

Our most recent show was inspired by what is above us, what is below us, and how we find ourselves in the here and now. It was a blast to work with the company on how to interpret this theme in myriad ways throughout our production. Our stories were versatile, which allowed us to use different styles of movement and choreography in each piece.
Photo by Bjorn Bolinder

What did you want the audience to come away with after watching Above Below?

Becky: A reminder of what it feels like to play. An empowerment of the imagination. A sense of where they fit in this world, and where they want to go next. An experience infused with generous spirit. A great time.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?

Becky: The ensemble. It is a special gift to be able to work with the same company of performers over and over again--something that is so hard to find in NYC. Our relationships deepened in this production, and I believe that we shared our most sophisticated work to date. Warming up with this cast of characters before each performance and sitting in the wings with pride were experiences just as fulfilling and sharing the stage with each other. It was a family affair.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?

Becky: As always, we have a challenging time convincing people before they arrive at the theater that we are reinventing mime. It is a strong word with strong associations, and our white masks seem to lean into preconceived notions of mime. However, once our audiences are in the seats, their minds are blown. It always takes an effort to get folks there, but this show was a complete success in that regard, and we are immensely grateful to our audiences for taking the risk!
Photo by Bjorn Bolinder

What was the craziest thing that happened during this production?

Becky: We had a particularly good time exploring gender stereotypes in this production. One of our pieces, Ceilings, challenged us with a cast of men playing women and women playing men--something we've never done before. It was quite a rehearsal process, each company member describing their experiences as a man or woman, how society views them, what they are proud of, etc. Also, a woman doing research on how men look when using a urinal is pretty hysterical.

What is the best part of working with Broken Box Mime Theater?

Becky: The trust. It's a living breathing thing that we continue to hone and foster in our actions, our conversations, our rehearsals, our administrative meetings. It's the core of our success and we believe it affects the energy at each of our performances.

They're a group of diverse artists who all come into the rehearsal room, put aside the crap from their day or week, and work together to create the best art possible. They trust each other, they support each other, they believe in each other, They're each other's inspiration.

You can follow Broken Box Mime Theater on Twitter - @brokenboxmime

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