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The Early SLC Mime Troupe
Handy Table of Contents 
The following web pages trace the saga of the Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe from the point of view of myself -- Artist / Technician Michael Evans. It is my intention to mention ALL of the people involved, and the times when they contributed to this remarkable international ensemble.

Theatrical Daze & Nights Ib
SLC Mime Troupe; Modern Dance; RDT Workshop & Theater 138

As 1973 dawned, I took classes in TV production, and a video workshop arranged by Al Payne, from our mutual friend Paul McCarthy, a former graduate student in the Art Department who was becoming a well-known conceptual artist. I made up my mind that I would redouble my efforts to escape the dirt and danger of my industrial job and somehow start working in the Arts. I moved into a studio near the University on First Avenue, and diligently went about taking photographs and painting away from the school -- it was fun, but felt the need to do something with potential for the future. I borrowed some money and drove out to Los Angeles to pick up a new Sony Porta-Pack from McCarthy and Mike Cram. I paid it off by staying on the midnight shift at Kennecott Copper Corp. while still going for my degree at the University of Utah, and losing a lot of sleep. I looked around for appropriate subjects to videotape, and found them -- in the world of Modern Dance and Ballet on the campus, and right next door to my art studio.
Salt Lake City First Sees and Hears About the Mime Troupe
This photo was published in the Salt Lake Tribune during April of 1973, and was taken at a commercial development called Trolley Square, created from the former city/county bus garages. I started making videos with the Mime Troupe soon afterward -- they rehearsed in the Art Department, after all.
Jim Anderson is at the far left, then there are nine more -- Top Row: Evy Tessman, Patsy Droubay, and Stephanie. 2nd Row: Wendy Loring, Franklin Tomorrow, and Matthew Child. 3rd Row: Becky Berenson, Katie Apenzeller / Berger, finally musician Steve Rasmussen (an interior designer I knew well into the 80's). There were a few others who weren't in this picture -- like my friend Paul Blackwell, Jeff, and Duffy.
I met Wendy, Katie, and Matt first, later on I met Wendy's corps of Modern Dancers who brought a Pop Art painting to life at our first major show. (see below)
Scenes fom the SLC Mime Troupe's First Major Concert

Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? by English artist Richard Hamilton was reprinted in a ubiquitous Art textbook. It inspired a hilarious full-scale production number by Wendy Loring, including bachelor-pad music like Zoom Zoom, Zoom, and the junk-rock classic My Boyfriend's Back.

Evy Tessman's boys Thaunt and Chase drew the mimeographed program for our Dance Bldg. concert in May of '73. Who could resist?
A silent intercourse with theatre and dance:

Matthew was the waiter as Katie played her uncharacteristic role as a glutton in Fat America. (Sketched from a later performance.)
She gradually developed her Madame Duck personna from this piece.

Duffy was first. Jim was the Hitchhiker. Brando was one satire of many. Patsy did a silent drama. At the end, Wendy hit back at stupidity.
Videotaping at the University of Utah Dance Department
The first few months I spent shooting video and learning how to work behind a lens was more than just remarkable -- this time literally marked the beginning of the rest of my life.
The Mime Troupe consisted of talented, ambitious dancers -- some of the best on campus. Their material was well-thought out and extremely well-executed. I not only videotaped the Mime Troupe's rehearsals, but also recorded a beautiful Modern Dance piece for a graduate student's master thesis at the U of U's Dance Department, thanks to my friend Lisa Katz. I followed the Mime Troupe to their first gig at the Hidden Valley Country Club, and put their own concert at the Dance Building onto videotape.
I enjoyed the creative scene in the Dance Department very much, and signed up for Repertory Dance Theatre's 1973 Summer Workshop, where we delved deep into the intricacies of the new portable video
medium and shot a full-scale RDT concert. I also made some ZenTV tapes on my own, and a gallery installation where I actually oil-painted on a TV screen set up for video feedback during our final presentation.

A digitized drawing of myself with a Sony Porta-Pak, outside
of the now-demolished Dance Building, as we were in 1973.
The Mime Troupe Continued to Attract Attention
I moved into another studio near Ninth East and Ninth South, an ongoing center of creativity in Salt Lake City, and shared the space with musician Kurt Setzer. The Mime Troupe performed throughout the summer and fall of 1973, although several members came, went, came back again, and new members joined. It was fun to help them out, because my experiences with them were so instructive and positive, and their shows were so strong and delightful. They found new rehearsal space in the Music Building, and did their second major concert on the stage there.

Jim Anderson played King Claudius and wrote
much of the next performance at Westminster College.

Dancer Amy Osgood played Queen Gertrude
and composed pieces for herself and others.

Evy Tessman was Katie's strong right hand
in those early days.

Tom Tessman drew this Kabuki-like image as a logo.
Was it Katie's face, Evy's face, or anybody's face?

Katie was already acknowledged as an ace teacher, as well as a dancer. She taught at the University, and I was honored to tape and photograph her at work. Chris Wong (Rear) was with the group in late 1973.

Like Duffy, I'd known Nancy Lyon in the Art Department. She was in our Music Building show in 1973, and we met her again in Amsterdam in 1977.
The Mime Troupe Asserted Its Prescence in the Community
The successful Music Building concert gave everybody a big lift in late summer. The Mime Troupe lost some members to the vicissitudes of school and professional careers, but Wendy Loring and Matt Child returned from trips 'Back East' and Africa. Three persons showed up who would stay awhile -- David Carrillo from the U.S. Navy and SLC, Daniel Robert from New York, and Stuart Curtis from Michigan, who lent Paul Blackwell a much-needed hand with the music. After an outdoor children's show at Westminster College, they scheduled their next big production at one of Salt Lake City's most prestigious venues -- Theater 138, founded by Ariel Ballif, Tom Carlin, and Stu Falconer at 138 South 200 East. (It was a parking lot by the time SLC hosted the 2002 Olympics.) They ran a first-rate place, and it was a high honor to perform there. I participated in this show on several levels -- not only designing, and paying for, a high-quality poster, but supplying microphones and other equipment. I even sang Doo-Wop bass for Wendy Loring's elaborate Silhouttes number wearing a suit, greased-up hair, and sunglasses. I needed to videotape the event at least once, but I couldn't BE in the show and SHOOT it at the same time, so I sacrificed a Friday night to crawl into a low space above and behind the audience with my equipment. Somehow, somebody forgot how to turn the microphones on, so I had to crawl out as everybody was in their seats, waiting for the show to start. (Hiya Lisa! Don't I look like a bloody fool?)
Despite all that, it was a magnificent show -- Paul and Stuart made a lot of music for two men; David helped Katie sing her own tune Hilly Road; Daniel Robert channeled a wistful Shakespeare; Evy, Katie, and 13-year-old Allison Mahaffey knocked 'em dead right way in the opening Classroom sequence; Chris, Patsy, Matthew, David, and Evy did increasingly better solos, which would lead to later, larger, works; and Wendy's madcap Modern Dance left everybody laughing at the intermission. The second half was an ambitious domestic psychodrama that used everybody's vocal gifts and visual prowess, with an intense pantomime finale by Katie which touched everyone's emotions. The whole evening was original and beautiful.

(Click to see a larger version of this image.)
My friend and studio-mate Pat Eddington drew a series of mimes and clowns the previous year. He graciously allowed me to use one for our Theatre 138 show. The model was fellow artist Mike Kirkland. I was pleased and impressed when my peers from the Art Department came to see us.

Left to Right: (Top) Amy, Jim, David, Patsy; (Middle) Daniel, Paul, Nancy, Katie; (Below) Chris, then Evy.

We found ourselves a-playing on a hilly road

Where we ran in circles like drunken toads ...

Tom Tessman drew this fanciful image for the Theatre 138 program under the inspiration of Katie's song Hilly Road.

Katie and Evy composed Elbow Room, for both speech and action. Tom "spun" his reflect these elements.
SLC Mime Troupe Briefly Became SLC Mime Theatre & It wasTime for a Time Out !
As winter settled in, I spent much more time paying attention to my job, my other friends, and my private life. I was simply tired too, and didn't see anything I could contribute to the small gigs Wong set up for SLC Mime Theatre.
However, I kept contact with Katie, who shared a house with Paul, Stuart, and Daniel near the University. David, Patsy, and Matt always showed up there too. The Tessmans lived a short walk away, but were too busy working and raising their two sons to act as Mime Central anymore -- they still threw some damn good parties, though!
I shot some small video experiments in the 9th and 9th studio, and even joined musicians Kurt Setzer, Dave Fagiolli, Neil Passy, Richard Jonas, and Rod Dankers for Nameless Uncarved Block jams once a week -- I videotaped a couple of happenings with them, and was even on KMOR Radio once, but it was harmless fun rather than serious art.

( Continued in Part Ic ...)

When the Mime Troupe Moved to the Carriage House of the McCune Mansion ...
I rejoined them and rented one of the studios in the building, along with Tom Tessman, and my friend Sparry Daughterman from the Art Department. Daniel Robert took on the job of manager, and everything was done with a greater intensity. A whole new chapter in our mutual history opened up, but those stories belong on another page.

( Continued in Part IIa ...)

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Photos and digital Images by the Author, except where noted. Partial quotation of Mr. Hamilton's collage used for reference only, under provisions of International law.
All Rights Reserved Michael R. Evans 2009  Email Me