In truth, as we sit in the Mime Troupe's studio, in which computers share space with juggling clubs and assorted props (including a sign reading "Mime-O-Vision" and what appears to be the head of Leonid Brezhnev), I find Holden, a compact, attractive woman dressed in jeans and T-shirt, to be anything but threatening. In fact, she is both pleasant and funny. Nonetheless, I take no chances. I have an open Che Guevara lapel pin in my coat pocket and have memorized the exits.
Ah . . . I hear you . . . did I say that she was a writer for a mime troupe? What would that involve? A hell of a lot of stage directions? Marcel, coming down the stairs, finds himself trapped in a giant glass box during a windstorm . . . . Or, perhaps the two clowns continue patting the hyena while the others simulate a tonsillectomy. How, exactly, does one do political mime? Then the CEO takes the imaginary hatchet to the imaginary redwood. . . .
Well, no. Ask a date to go see a mime troupe and she's likely to look at you as if you've offered her a buttered hairball, but culturally savvy Bay Areans jump at the chance to see the SFMT in one of its many free performances in local parks. You see, the San Francisco Mime Troupe is no closer to being Shields & Yarnell than is, say, an episode of South Park. You'll see Quentin Tarantino directing a remake of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm before you'll see an SFMT member pretending to blow up a balloon on a heaving boat deck.