Click here to listen to the interview.
The San Francisco Mime Troupe returns after a two-year hiatus from live performances with the musical satire Back to the Way Things Were. It’s a timely (of course) look at intergenerational worldviews and a pointed examination of where nostalgia fails,
It’s directed by Velina Brown, who, like the rest of the Troupe, spent those two years doing scripted podcasts that kept the spirit of the Troupe going while also providing us with a bracing, and more than usually necessary, challenge to the status quo
When I spoke with Brown on June 17 and 20, 2022, the Troupe was in final rehearsals for the show, and had just moved rehearsals out of the studio and into the open air, where they traditionally perform. We got to that transition, and the attendant COVID testing around it later, but we started off with the genesis of this year’s production that finds a daughter at odds with her parents over returning to normal life.
We went on to talk about the Troupe’s gift for including viewpoints that challenge its audience; what it was like to be back working live with the Troupe, including safety protocols; and if the pandemic affected the way Brown expresses her art.
We finished up with how the pandemic changed our thinking about work; why giving up is not an option; and resting as a radical option.
Brown is a singer, songwriter, teaching artist, and a principal performer for the San Francisco Mime Troupe. She’s played the Devil in Deal With the Devil, Veronique in Veronique of the Mounties, and she’s played Condoleeza Rice three times.