Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe Outline and Scrapbook

Comments and Responses
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Thanks to everyone who has looked on these pages and wrote back to me! The following are extracts from e-mails or phone conversations, where noted. This project is still a work in progress, and I appreciate the support I have received. -- Michael

Nina Cheney (Cheney and Mills): It was fun to read the running history of your life since SL Mime Troupe days. How did you remember all that? Or put it in order? ... I remember meeting you in Amsterdam, and a bunch of us sitting in a houseboat talking. ... Yes, those Europe days are good memories. But some trying times too. I was so new at performing, I couldn't believe Patsy asked me to go with her. It was one of the most exciting times of my life.
I remember doing the posters for Mark Nelson for ASUU shows. It was before computers and I laid out the lettering by hand--ugh. I don't know where all my copies went, seems like I kept a few. Bruce Bowers, John McDermott, Zupe & Otto are a few I can think of. I LOVED Duck's Breath and still have my t-shirt --the one with the little duck head popping out of a spaceship. Callie (her daughter) wears it now.
Loved the account of the LaCrosse Int'l Mime Fest. I should have been there (I WISH), but hadn't decided to pursue mime/clowning yet at that point...I think I remember being in Vermont, where I was a camp counselor, when the Nixon resignation occurred. Later I did get to meet & work with Hovey Burgess during a workshop at Two Penny Theater... Judy now has MS and there was a big benefit for her a few months ago in San Francisco.
Here is a link to a slide show:

Nina is an ace juggler and performer, based near Madison, Wisconsin, and a graduate of Carlo's Della' Arte School. She was also in Two Penny Circus. -- Michael

Paul Blackwell (Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe, Pigeon Drop Theatre): Great web site. Thanks for chronicling that SLC Mime Troupe stuff. You must have put a lot of energy into it. I hope you are enjoying it and getting energy back from it. I will need to spend some more time there. Sorry, I had forgotten your drawings. I am amazed at how much you sketched there.

Paul is one of the charter members of the GSL Mime Troupe, and a prolific composer -- Michael

John Kilby (Footsbarn Travelling Theatre): I took a look at the website, you have been busy. Absolutely no problem with the permissions as you quite rightly presumed. I'll make a link to your site in the near future...

John came through! Here's what they wrote on Footsbarn's NEWS Page, and removed a year or so later:
Mike Evans -- Here is a link to Mike Evans website on which some archival and anecdotal information. Mike worked with Footsbarn in the early Cornish days, we met again in 1982 when we presented 'O Diabo, O Doutor e O Louco' at the World Theatre Festival in Denver Colorado.
Thought it was '83 -- hmmm, hafta check -- you're correct! -- Michael

The summer in Dublin went really well, good houses and 5 star critics, and a promise to return for a National tour in 2007. We have a couple of gigs in October and November and then we're planning a three/four month break, something we haven't had in ages, a need to recharge the batteries and to be back on form next year with a new show provisionally titled 'Mobile Bone' and of course to organise the celebration in August which is no small task. Will keep in touch ...

I was at Footsbarn's 35th Anniversary Celebration, and enjoyed every minute. The show in question was renamed 'Homo Haereticus' -- a very beautiful experience, plus a satirical hoot. -- Michael

Stuart Curtis (Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe, Available Jelly, 'Cats' Hamburg, Germany): Great to hear from you and thanks for the link to your website. It was an interesting read which brought back a lot of memories. You certainly have a better memory than I do, but then I suppose you always had a special interest in documentation. I remember you wandering around with a video recorder backpack a good bit of the time.

Stuart moved out from Michigan to join Paul Blackwell as the foundation of GSL Mime Troupe's band, then worked and performed with many ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. -- Michael

Katie Duck (Magpie; Productions for Independent Artists): Thank you for sending is great.

James M. Anderson (Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe): I used to think my short life with the mime troupe was just a lot of fun with sweet, talented, fearless people who gave me unconditional love and friendship while we worked at creating theatre together. 35 years later, I know what I was really given was to have the strengths of being open-minded, flexible, creative, of love, and unafraid to be self-critical or criticized. There were times in my life when these gifts mattered & I can truthfully say I have survived because of them. So, it was with great joy that I discovered Mike’s peerless on-line theatre archive and learned all of the troupers, with the exception of George - God rest his soul! - are in good health and successful in their chosen fields.

Jim Anderson was a charter member of the Mime Troupe in 1973, and stayed with us through most of our first summer, writing a long set-piece we performed at Westminster College. He was still close at hand when we moved into the Hillside Studio, but we saw less and less of him after LaCrosse. -- Michael

Gregg Moore (Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe, Available Jelly, Footsbarn Theatre): Stu Curtis forwarded on to me your latest note announcing your page ... and it's great! It definately jogged a few memories there and here. It also made me remember that last year about this time there was movement being made toward a Friends Roadshow data base or something full of fotos, stories, timelines, programs all that living in the past kinda junk that's gradually becoming important to us all and I was wondering if you'd heard of that. I think I heard of it thru Jon Beedell (Jon B.) who I'm in pretty regular contact with. Here's his e-mail address: (deleted) if you want to know more about it.

I contacted him immediately, but he never wrote back -- Michael

So yer in Kalispell? ...I'm trying to remember the name of the ...woman who ran a theatre in SLC back in the early 70's who I'm quite sure was from Kalispell. I can't remember her name, nor the name of the theatre, but she was visionary and super energetic and I's somehow gotten involved in a production there thru my pal, Rip Pett . . . and what makes it pertinent an' all is that the experience served to prove to me how much I enjoyed playing music for theatre so when Stu asked if I'd be intrested in working with GSLMT I was quick to jump at the chance and of course it changed my whole life.

What a story! That was the Human Ensemble Repertory Theatre. Their long-time Artistic Director was Juda Youngstrom. For the sake of my readers -- The Ensemble started out doing shows in the back room of the Cosmic Aeroplane on South Temple and eventually operated their own theater upstairs in the Glass Factory on Arrow Press Square. We did our "breakout" show there in 1974, just before going on the road. There was a bar in the basement called the Dead Goat Saloon, and Human Ensemble mutated into the Salt Lake Acting Company. -- Michael

Stephanie Monseu ("Philomena" of Bindlestiff Family Cirkus)
: Thanks for sending that sketch of Hovey and the weblink! I forwarded it to him right away. Being the detail oriented guy that he is, he remembered everything quite clearly and was tickled that it had been memorialized in pencil!

Thank you in return! I emailed Hovey while the Bindlestiffs were traveling, and his answer is below -- Michael

Hovey Burgess (Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Clown School; Tisch School of the Arts NYU; Circus Flora, NY Goofs etc.): 1.) You are right. Any recollection I may have of you is a little vague and fuzzy, but no matter. 2.) The International Mime Festival 1974 turns out to have been a very seminal event. 3.) Put 1. & 2. together--to realize [3] just how valuable and important your sketches and notes are.
"Those were the days, my friend--we thought they'd never end."
...I am flabbergasted that this material should "surface" @ this time. Awesome.

Your feedback and corrections are most welcome. I'm one of thousands, but I owe you a lot -- Michael

Joan Merwyn: Hey! I just found your site and sketches! Too cool... I'm still doing mime and physical theater, are you? I'm based in NYC. Check out my current performance, teaching and choreographic work at my website: Joan Merwyn Physical Theater. I was (at the Vienna Street Theater Fest) with Bilder Theater from Bremen, Germany and the Too Much Brothers, who I also toured the plazas and streets of Europe with. I stayed in Europe for 2 years, studied with Grotowski Lab and others. Earlier, I studied back in '71-'75 with Leonard Pitt in SF, as well as James, Mamako, and SF Mime Troupe directors Sandra Archer and RG Davis.

I'm very happy that today's audiences can still bask in your beauty and deep energy. This site's purpose is networking with all those who love this artistic field. Thanks for the nice phone conversation, Joan! Your little story about Katie Duck hitching along with the Too Much Brothers that same summer was a gem -- Michael

James Donlon (Menagerie Mime Theater; UCSB etc.): This is fantastic Michael!
I am performing mime and clown again ... In fact, I was just in Switzerland at the Teatro Dimitri for a week in close private contact with Dimitri and Marceau who was there.

Two great men! The latter is still one of my favorite actors -- absolutely inimitable -- Michael

You know, after the '74 festival Dimitri and his wife Gunda arranged solo tours for me throughout Switzerland for three years running. Also one of my pieces called Truck Dog was translated into Czech and I was invited to direct it in Prague, all due to an interest Turba took in the script earlier. Last year I did a residency at Belhaven College in Mississippi where Lou Campbell, the director of the '74 festival now is the theatre department chairman. So you see, the festival and the magic that was created there is still influencing my life to this day...By the way, thanks for giving me that strong looking back. I'm flattered.
In the last couple of years I'm sensing a new interest in mime and movement theatre again. I think the current world situation is contributing to a re-kindling of a social awareness as in '74. History repeats itself. Your manuscript / diary / account is a great record of this history.

It was a profound experience for sure, I'm glad the good things are staying with you, and I couldn't have have sketched those gracefully strong muscles if they weren't actually that way -- Michael

Dr. Lou Campbell (Director of the 1974 International Mime Festival and Institute): I happened on your article on the Mime Festival in La Crosse, and thoroughly enjoyed a reminisce. I am the creator and director of the festival and am finally compiling all the documents and records for publication of a text on mime. The documentation of the festival was the content of my Dissertation which completed my Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1976. I continue to use mime in teaching theatre and remain in touch with many of the artists from the festival and indeed many of the students from there as well. While many of the artists from the festival have died, several are still going. We visited Dimitri at his school in Verscio, Switzerland last May. He turned 70 in September and still performs. His work is now available on video but in PAL format only and through his school. You can peruse my work at
Thanks for the memories.

Thanks for the news about Dimitri! Whew -- Dr. Campbell was just about the LAST person I expected to hear from, but I'm glad he enjoyed his visit. The Assistant Director, Ms. Bari Rolfe passed away. She edited a book called Mimes on Miming which is definitely worth a read, even though it is out of print.
Lou published a book of his own in 2008, Mime in the Twentieth Century, it is availble from Edwin Mellen Press
USA List Price: $109.95 UK List Price: £ 69.95 -- Michael

Crimson Rose (Burning Man): What an amazing account of the Mime festival, your memory is better than mine. Thanks for the link, good job.

Crimson was a participant at the 1974 festival, and enjoys a distinguished career as a member of the LLC for Black Rock City dba Burning Man, and Director of Art Management. She's also a director of Black Rock Arts Foundation, the non-profit wing of Burning Man. -- Michael

David Bear Carrillo (Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe, Friends Roadshow, Spaces Jazz Band):
Hey Mike: I was up googling for George Kugler's where-about and found this great history naturally compounded by you my friend. You always were the historian and collector of people and places.

David was with the Great Salt Lake Mime Troupe from 1973 until the winter of 1975-76. He not only danced with Katie, Patsy, Matt, and Dorba, but also sang and played percussion with our band. When the call finally came from Europe, he took on the responsibility of driving to Friends Roadshow headquarters in Michigan and arranging the seemingly-infinite details of our intercontinental journey while the rest of the group followed behind him through Utah and Colorado. He was also one of the first to re-join Katie after the Mime Troupe's much-needed break in the wake of the 1975 Festival of Fools. -- Michael

P.S: David's email prompted me to compose a long-delayed Web page about George. It was something I knew I needed to tackle, but I hated dealing with the fact that he's dead and gone -- Read Reflections on George Kugler -- Michael

Rob Owen (Clowns of America monthly magazine; Hunt's Circus; Sells and Gray 3 Ring Circus; Stu Miller's Magic Time USA; Gatti Productions American Continental Circus; Big John Strong Circus; George Carden Circus; Story Land, Glen N.H; and Heritage-New Hampshire):
Thank you very much for keeping a journal (or having an exceptionally good memory) of the mime festival ... Being able to participate in part of the festival was a highlight of my years in the USAF.
I was a minuteman missile launch officer at Grand Forks AFB, ND. ... I know I met you or members of the SLC mime troupe and I did see your performance. It was a common area rather than a performance space if I remember correctly and I do remember the performance overlapped another scheduled show that did not allow people to be seated after the performance began.

The room was outfitted with professional theater lights, but had no curtain to separate the audience from the stage -- it was used both as a common area and performance space. -- Michael

But that seemed to be the pace of things there, too much to do and no where near enough time. I got to see Dimitri's second performance and have had the pleasure of seeing him again since then. That was probably the highlight for me though experiencing that much mime in one place at one time was a highlight in itself. It was great to read and remember the Wonder Bar, arrival of the Friends Roadshow and their show, and think of the many other things that happened at all hours of day or night that weren't part of the schedule.
I haven't done much mime since then though I know it has been a big help when I did some circus clowning and acting. My path after the military was touring with circuses for thirteen years and then working at a family theme park in NH for the past twenty.

Thank you for putting the story on the website and especially the drawings. You captured some great moments and brought back some great memories with your sketches. Also, you hit the nail on the head with your comment about Americans not performing at the level of the Europeans. If the festival did nothing else it changed American theater performance (mime primarily but other types as well) by the festival experience.

I am grateful and amazed by your very friendly visit, and appreciate your good words!
So Google sent you to both the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library and HERE? -- Michael

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