OCTOBER 7, 2011 - OCTOBER 30, 2011
BEYOND WORDS is a collection of Mime, Music, and Monologues: a poignant journey that continues Bowers' ongoing investigation of silence in our culture.
Set against the backdrop of “small-town America,” BEYOND WORDS takes the audience on a funny and poignant journey of sound and silence.
One of the most acclaimed mimes in America today, Bill Bowers' eloquent movement evokes the deepest truths of the human condition. Often compared to Chaplin and Keaton, Bowers has truly created a style all his own. Bowers is a student of world-renowned mime Marcel Marceau, and has performed and conducted workshops throughout the U.S, Europe and Asia. His acclaimed original shows have been produced Off-Broadway to critical raves.
The New York Times has said “To see Bill Bowers is to see the technical elements of a style that bring Marcel Marceau readily to mind. Mime can be wonderful…the air between him and us was his palette.”
BILL BOWERS (writer/performer) is an American actor and mime, and has appeared on Broadway as Zazu In The Lion King and Leggett in The Scarlet Pimpernel. Other New York credits include Souls Of Naples (with John Turturro) at Theatre for a New Audience, ZeroChurch at St Anne's Warehouse, and Hibiscus at La Ma Ma. Three of his original shows have been produced Off Broadway as well: 'Night Sweetheart Night Buttercup at Here, Under A Montana Moon at Urban Stages, and It Goes Without Saying at Rattlestick Theatre. His play HeyokahHokehay, inspired by Native American "Contrary Clowns," has been produced at several theatres in the U.S, and also at the Edinburgh Festival this summer. Bill’s solo show Under A Montana Moon was presented 10 years ago at Urban Stages and has since been performed around the world including Romania, Macedonia, Italy, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Puerto Rico, as well as the KennedyCenter, Steppenwolf, and theatres around the U.S. In 2006 his solo play It Goes Without Saying premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, and garnered rave reviews, and an extended run. This show has been produced all over the country as well- in 50 cities in 23 states. (Berkshire Theatre Festival, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Historic Asolo Theatre, Mt. Baker, Two River Theatre Co.) The show has won many awards including "Best Performance" at the International Fresh Fruit Festival, the International United Solo Festival, and the Out of the Loop Festival in Dallas. It was also listed as Best of the Berkshires, and a New York Times Critics Pick. Bowers has appeared on Broadway in Disney's The Lion King, and The Scarlet Pimpernel, and on the stages of RadioCityMusic Hall, The Kennedy Center, MadisonSquareGarden, and major regional theaters across the country. He is featured in the film Two Weeks Notice with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant, and his television credits include “Law & Order,” “One Life To Live,” “All My Children,” “Remember W.E.N.N.,” and Disney's “Out Of The Box.”
NEW YORK TIMES
STORIES COME TO LIFE IN SOUND AND SILENCE
By Ken Jaworowski
October 19th, 2011
Cheerful stories can be fun, but angry tales are fascinating. That’s never more apparent than in “Beyond Words,” a collection of sketches presented by Bill Bowers in both mime and monologue. At his nicest Mr. Bowers is a pleasant fellow relating mildly amusing yarns. Yet when he ventures into darker territory, this one-man show comes alive.
“Beyond Words” begins with Mr. Bowers narrating an account of his birth and youth in Missoula, Mont. Throughout the program he’s a friendly and likable guide, outlining ideas in short talks then acting out the scenes in silence or backed by music and sound effects.
Those scenes vary in power. One about his experiences as a young gay man working in a restaurant comes off as merely cute and even self-serving. But when he takes a chance with riskier material, like the dramatization of a brutal incident from “Winesburg, Ohio,” or a mime about the murder of Matthew Shepard, his skills intensify and his focus sharpens. A piece that recalls an embittered uncle is deeply moving and displays Mr. Bowers at his best in both word and action.
No matter the subject, “Beyond Words” demands close attention — sometimes the unspoken story line can get cloudy. Otherwise the 80-minute performance, directed by Scott Illingworth at Urban Stages, is almost always engaging to the eye and ear.
At the end of the show Mr. Bowers enacts a silent summary of his sketches. It’s a clever move, one that reminds the viewer of how many affecting images were created here. Not surprisingly it also reveals that the most memorable moments surfaced when he and his characters suffered through their worst times.
NEW YORK POST
CHATTY MIME SPILLS ALL - Worth Seeing For Bowers' Powers
By Frank Scheck
October 11, 2011
For a mime, Bill Bowers has a lot to say.
And that’s all to the good. In his new one-man show “Bill Bowers Beyond Words” -- a mix of mime and spoken vignettes -- he presents a portrait of small-town America filtered through his own experiences that’s both moving and funny.
“My grandfather was a gold miner, my father was a farmer and I’m a mime,” Bowers informs us, with an ironic lilt.
He’s also gay, he adds, which made growing up in a small town in Montana rather complicated.
Or, as he puts it: “I was just your average small-town boy, pre-‘Glee.’ ” Bowers goes on to describe his younger years, including his first job as a “salad-bar boy” in a restaurant.
There, his over-the-top enthusiasm -- he once arranged radishes to form a map of Montana -- quickly got him reassigned.
Interspersed with his anecdotes are several mimed episodes, including ones in which he enacts characters in a Wild West saloon and at a country fair.
He also lip-syncs to amusing effect, never more so than when acting out a vintage sex-education film about nocturnal emissions.
Granted, he overreaches at times, as with his segments devoted to the hate-crime killing of Matthew Shepard, and a tale taken from Sherwood Anderson’s classic short-story cycle of small-town life, “Winesburg, Ohio.”
The best, most vivid moments of the piece are his more personal interludes.
The highlight of the evening is his hilarious account of his experiences as a “visiting artist” in a tiny Montana town where he was treated as a celebrity.
Describing a coffee-klatch gathering at a “prairie salon” and a performance at a home for the developmentally disabled, Bowers effortlessly brings us to laughter and tears, often at the same time.
Bill Bowers is “Beyond Words” at Urban Stages off-Broadway
NY THEATER EXAMINER
Bill Bowers is "Beyond Words" at Urban Stages Off-Broadway
By Sandi Durell
October 13, 2011
The art of mime speaks endless words in silence. However, don’t be surprised to also hear music and more dialogue than expected. Bill Bowers, a student of the great Marcel Marceau, is a renowned expert in this art and was inspired to write this play when he found the poem ‘What Is a Boy?” while cleaning out his Mom’s house after her death. It was originally pinned to his baby blanket when he was taken home from the hospital when he was born in 1959 in Missoula, Montana.
Bowers’ story, “Beyond Words,” is touching, filled with humor and poetic truths. It’s his life and experiences from boyhood on his way to manhood, growing up in a small town while lip-syncing to Karen Carpenter as he sang into a hair brush. As his body, hands and expressions convey every emotional nuance, he journeys in a world he lovingly shares from Salad Bar Boy to floating balloon man at the Country Fair to mean old Uncle Davey. Soundless movements communicate the story of Wing Bittlebaum, whose restless hands spoke volumes back in Wineburg, Ohio, 1919; his life tortured when driven out of a Pennsylvania town 20 years prior when, as a teacher, he was accused of fondling young boys. Bowers sensitively tells the tale in graceful silence.
Stories turn sadder as one grows older and life becomes more physically demanding.
Bowers’ stories reveal his life as a gay person, heart-warming stories of teaching and performing in small towns like Choteau, Montana, and hidden secrets that include pink ballet slippers.
The backdrop setting of small town America reveals its own realities about the human condition as Bowers attempts to paint unspoken pictures in broad colorful strokes. Although Bowers’ presentation has its uniqueness, one has the feeling that a more in-depth exploration is needed to clarify some of the vignettes.
He is directed by Scott Illingworth, with set design by Roman Tatarowicz, lighting design by Lee Terry and the varying musical songs and sounds are brought to life by David Margolin Lawson. The Artistic Director at Urban Stages is Frances Hill