It Goes Without Saying
Bill Bowers' solo show about his life as a mime is refreshing, inspired, and instantly likeable.
In this autobiographical solo piece, Bowers tells the story of an effeminate and taunted Missoula, Montana boy who staged Barbie parades and heard his calling by late adolescence. He jokes that after heading to New York and leaving his puzzled but supportive parents and five siblings behind, he took scads of odd mime assignments. Over the years, he's pretended to be any number of mechanical men. One job that might have been worth seeing -- just for the yuks -- had Bowers silently recounting The History of Towing at the American Tow Truck Convention.
Flipping a pad featuring what could be considered chapter titles, Bowers chats amiably about a number of subjects, including the cameo he had in the film Two Weeks Notice that landed him in the make-up room between Hugh Grant and Donald Trump. He gabs about the seven years he traveled the land in tights as Slim Goodbody. He becomes serious recalling a journey to an East German town with a longtime lover in the last stages of an AIDS-related affliction. Throughout his recollections -- which also include a disappointing study program with Marcel Marceau himself -- the stocky, quick-to-chuckle Bowers remains appealingly candid. He also does a number of impersonations -- such as his reticent parents and his lover's stern mother -- that confirm his talent as an actor as well as a mime.
What distinguishes this show from just another one-man confession is not just its mime adornments. Usually, the implied message of mime is that words are unnecessary: Life's joys and dilemmas can be expressed strictly through actions. However, Bowers has a different take, and it's kinda brilliant. He sees mime as a metaphor for the many everyday situations in which people find themselves unable to speak. Repeatedly in his experiences, he runs into imposed silence. As a child, he grew up in a family where feelings were not expressed. Much later, his dying lover suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, lost the ability to speak. Along his way, Bowers brings in any number of other examples to make the point his title hints at.