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Fisico Alba International Theatre Festival 2022


The Three Dots Company

Genre: Clown, Comedic, Mime

Venue: Teatro Sociale, Alba


Low Down

Three mimes co-exist, initially obeying the rules of mime-world. One of them begins to go rogue. Three highly skilled actors, participating in Alba’s exceptional physical theatre fringe festival, treat the audience to clowning, mime, comedy and the exploration of an existential crisis.


How many mimes does it take to change a lightbulb ? This question and others are asked in this entertaining and thought-provoking show. The stage of the beautiful Teatro Sociale ‘Giorgio Busca’ is bare (of course it is, it is a mime show). A mime appears, and then, in carefully choreographed style, enters through an unseen doorway. Dressed in a classical mime workshop black outfit, with white gloves and a white painted face, he begins to perform the sort of mime movements that, to be frank, have been exhibited the world over. Actor number two – identically dressed – enters, mimicking the first actor’s movements. They both look pleased with themselves. The audience’s collective hearts sink : we are ten minutes in and it is a hackneyed mime show. But then….actor number three enters and walks – no, yomps – through the mimed door, not obeying miming protocols. His cohorts are outraged. Is this a mistake, or a portent to something unsettling ? The scene unfolds, centred around the changing of a lightbulb, but something unexpected begins to happen – actor three is going rogue. His irritation with his own kind is palpable, he is beginning to disregard mime rules. His truculence with their changing the bulb grows and there now follows a seismic shift in their society : he fetches a real ladder. Other conventions are broken and, after the bulb situation is finally resolved, their bubble society descends into anarchy. The paradigm is broken and the landscape of their world is irrevocably broken, at times brutally and oppressively.

The cast of The Three Dots Company – made up of Mauro Groppo, Paolo Scaglia and Samuel Toye – execute this anti-mime show to perfection. They move and complement each other fluidly, their self-direction strong and timing faultless. The destruction of the mime code gives rise to an existential crisis within their community. Is everything they thought they knew wrong ? Actor three has provided a link to the outside world, but at what cost ? Their new society is more primal and most certainly more violent. When, comically, all three actors inexplicably lose almost all of their clothing, it seems metaphorical for their rules becoming disrobed, unravelled. Their new world brings to mind Lord Of The Flies, with some of the slapstick movement suggestive of the bygone era of Keaton. The performance is beautifully punctuated by the use of Eels – I Need Some Sleep.

How many mimes does it take to change a lightbulb ? Three, of course : one to change the bulb, one to hold the ladder and one to get annoyed. But the existential and societal questions posed stay with the audience long after. This is an outstanding gem of a show.