SAN FRANCISCO — Skyrocketing rents. Loss of diversity. Evictions, Google Glass-wearing nouveau riche, The War on the Poor. What is The City coming to?
The Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe (SFMT) opens its 55th season with “Ripple Effect,” a musical comedic tale of intersecting lives and cultures that reflect the familiar neighborhood tensions that are polarizing San Franciscans today.
Done in their characteristic quick-change, singing and dancing, Commedia dell’Arte political style, a cast of four, playing multiple characters, tells the story of three very different women, all at a critical life point, who find themselves in a boat on San Francisco Bay, brought together by chance. Although they perceive each other as “different,” each is a member of the working class and has been betrayed by a system that rewards only the few motivated solely by greed and self-interest.
As they tell their stories, they discover through their failed hopes and aspirations they are more similar than they thought and are connected in ways never imagined. In solidarity, they refuse to let their hometown fall into the hands of those who have no heart for it. Their actions will have a positive ripple effect.
Written by an esteemed trio of Bay Area writers and performers: Michael Gene Sullivan (SFMT), Eugenie Chan (“Cutting Ball”) and Tanya Shaffer (“Let My Enemy Live Long!”). Music and lyrics by Ira Marlowe. Michael Bello is the music director and lead musician. The show is co-directed by Hugo E Carbajal and Wilma Bonet. Bonet has directed recent Troupe shows, “2012 — The Musical!” and “Possibilidad, or Death of the Worker.”
“Ripple Effect” features longtime Mime Troupe collective members Sullivan, Velina Brown, Lisa Hori-Garcia, and Keiko Shimosato Carreiro (also co-puppet designer with Lawton Lovely).
The show opened July 4 in San Francisco’s Dolores Park and runs until Sept. 1 throughout the Bay Area in San Francisco, the North Bay, East Bay, and Peninsula. All park shows are free and open to the public.
This week’s venues are Mitchell Park, South Field, 600 E. Meadow Dr. at Cowper Street in Palo Alto (Thursday, July 10, at 7 p.m., music at 6:30 p.m.) and Cedar Rose Park, 1300 Rose St. at Chestnut Street in Berkeley (Saturday and Sunday, July 12-13, at 2 p.m., music at 1:30 p.m.). Additional, ticketed indoor shows will be in Point Arena and Redway. For a complete schedule and more information, call (415) 285-1717 or visit www.sfmt.org.