The San Francisco Mime Troupe, which enjoys an almost cultish following in its own neck of the woods, has also garnered praise from afar, including the Tony Awards. They hit you over the head with leftist philosophy at the same time that they double you over with laughter. I became a dedicated convert after stumbling across one of their shows in a park in Berkeley. Their staging and costumes are elaborately simple, and rousing, raucous, and hilarious songs are part of their signature. The troupe proves that guerrilla theater lives even in these reactionary times--which happen to be the subject of their latest show, Ripped Van Winkle. The story revolves around a radical hippie, Winkle Ripovitz. Rip was on his way to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago when a beautiful stranger gave him some acid that knocked him out for 20 years. He awakes in Reagan's America and is forced to confront old friends and lost ideals. Performing just days before the elections, the San Francisco Mime Troupe may just give you that extra push you need to get excited about punching that ticket. At the Athenaeum Theatre, November 5 and 6 (2936 N. Southport, 486-5120). Saturday and Sunday, 8 PM. $16.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Katty Raddatz.