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Billy the Mime @ The UCB - 11.11.6

A tender moment in the scene titled "Terri Schiavo, Adieu"

If truth and expectation are two of the most cited elements of what makes something funny, then the simple function of the comic actor is to present scenes to an audience in a unique way that connects with our shared experience. Billy the Mime takes loathsome truths and packages them into vulgar displays of movement and tableau. Billy's show is not a carefree jaunt to the theatre, it is however, a SARDONIC TRIP THROUGH HELL-O-L.

Billy begins each of his scenes with a somber spotlight cast upon him and a cheap placard denoting what we are about to see: "The Priest and the Altar Boy," "The Abortion," and "A Day Called 9/11," to name a few. The audience gives a knowing groan, and depending on one's emotional attachment to each of the motifs, eyes will cautiously fixate on or away from the performer. We think we know the endings and we think we know the journeys of each of these sordid romps, but Billy takes everyone to a place where no one wants to go.

"A Day Called 9/11" ends with a hijacker fucking his 6 dozen virgins in Heaven. United 93, it's not, but it is still wrenching to watch Billy play two characters, an everyman and a hijacker, plod and plot along to the inevitable. The titters, if one succumbs to any in this particular scene, come via the monstrous exaggerations of Billy's movements--the father tickling his baby goochie-goo before heading to work in the North Tower, or a hijacker raising his boxcutter to Allah to let loose a muted jihaddic yodel.

Interspersed are a few mildly lighthearted affairs, like "Thomas and Sally: A Night at the Monticello," which features a randy Thomas Jefferson who keeps dismissing himself from his own dinner party to partake in the carnal pleasures of a nubile slavemaiden. Imagine watching a Sim canoodle, x-rated style.

Haunting background melodies, such as a music box version of Smells Like Teen Spirit in "Curt Kobain, Why?" and a throbbing disco beat to accompany the rhythm of the throbbing members of "San Francisco Nights, 1979," help pack the emotional wallop.

Billy the Mime's flamboyant depictions of people and occurrences are what makes his capers both funny and upsetting, and in doing that, his art never fails to remind the viewer that the unsettling truths of these matters are far more hideous than the wispy embers of what we have come to recollect or the details we've forsaken.

Billy and a Random Audience Member perform in "The Clown and the Beautiful Woman"

Reader Comments (1)

Adorable! Does he come in Braille so the blind can enjoy him?
November 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBilly Reno

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