MUMMENSCHANZ is a theater group that was started in Paris, France, in 1972 that specializes in mime-like shows that rely on visuals to get their stories told. This non-verbal theatrical language involves no music, no set, only objects, moving against a black background and creating a playful non-verbal language that can be understood by all.
MUMMENSCHANZ has received world-wide acclaim and won the 2012 Swiss Award. Floriana Frassetto, the current Artistic Director, Co-Founder, and Performer, recently granted an exclusive interview where she discussed working with this company and more.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in theater—especially children’s theater?
Floriana Frassetto (FF): I was a very shy teenager. Movement, silent expressions and commedia dell’arte helped me to communicate my inner world. Instead of focusing on performing for children, my wish was to awaken the inner child in all of us.
MM: How did you initially get involved with MUMMENSCHANZ and what has been most rewarding about working with them?
FF: I met Andres Bossard and Bernie Schürch in 1971 in Paris. Together, we founded MUMMENSCHANZ and decided to try this adventure in a silent world with an interactive and ironic technique that we have invented.
MM: How do you select your cast?
FF: Basically, we look for performers in the acting world with some experience in acrobatics and dance. In terms of character, we select passionate, modest and patient “youngsters.”
MM: What can audiences expect from “Re:Play”?
FF: Audiences can expect an interactive and playful hour with different sketches, figures and shapes within the MUMMENSCHANZ universe
MM: How did you get involved with New Victory Theater and what do you most enjoy about working with them?
FF: I saw a show at the New Victory Theater back in the 1990s – Sharps, Flats and Accidentals starring The Flying Karamazov Brothers. I was approached by the actor Bill Irwin (he is a board member for the New Victory) and we discussed the possibility of performing there. Now, finally, the possibility has become a reality thanks to Mary Rose Lloyd, New Victory’s Artistic Director.
MM: What’s coming up for you in 2020?
FF: We have another worldwide tour coming up, which will bring us to Italy, Spain, the Middle East and China.
MM: How do you hope MUMMENSCHANZ will evolve in the future?
FF: Evolution has to do with life experience. Hopefully, MUMMENSCHANZ will continue to grow to the best it can be.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
FF: I’m happy to be back performing in New York, the melting pot of all nations.
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The show is currently running, and will close at the New Victory on December 1, 2019. To purchase tickets, see here. Also, follow #NewVictory on social media:
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Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist, and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Blasting News, and Entertainment Vine. She is also a stop-motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a BA in English Literature and a MA in Communication. She is also an animal advocate and a fledging toy and game designer.
Meagan is a contributing editor to Kidskintha writing on Toys, Games, Entertainment, and other topics that are happy and fun!