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
Daze & Nights Ib
Mime Troupe; Modern
Dance; RDT Workshop &
Salt Lake City First Sees and
Hears About the Mime Troupe
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.
moved into a studio near the University on First Avenue, and diligently
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
the campus, and right next door to my
Scenes fom the SLC
Mime Troupe's First Major Concert
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.
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)
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:
Videotaping at the
University of Utah Dance Department
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
first. Jim was the Hitchhiker. Brando was one satire of many.
Patsy did a silent drama. At the end, Wendy hit back at stupidity.
The Mime Troupe Continued
to Attract Attention
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
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
A digitized drawing of myself with
a Sony Porta-Pak, outside
of the now-demolished Dance Building, as we were in 1973.
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?
The Mime Troupe Asserted
Its Prescence in the Community
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.
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.
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
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.
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 ...
SLC Mime Troupe Briefly
Became SLC Mime Theatre &
It wasTime for a Time Out !
Tessman drew this fanciful image for the Theatre 138 program under
the inspiration of Katie's song Hilly Road.
and Evy composed Elbow Room, for both speech and action. Tom
"spun" his logo.to reflect these elements.
When the Mime Troupe
Moved to the Carriage House of the McCune Mansion ...
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
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