'Our Inner Poetic World'

Mummenschanz makes magic

Posted: February 25, 2018 at 1 a.m.

The new Mummenschanz “you&me,” coming to the Walton Arts Center on Feb. 27, includes a love affair between a violin and a viola.

The new Mummenschanz “you&me,” coming to the Walton Arts Center on Feb. 27, includes a love affair between a violin and a viola.

Do the math. Mummenschanz co-founder Floriana Frassetto has to be in her middle 60s. After all, she helped create the company -- with Swiss clowns Andres Bossard and Bernie Schürch -- in 1972.

But her demeanor and her enthusiasm are that of those three youngsters who "just wanted to share our inner poetic world with audiences all over the globe."




WHEN — 7 p.m. Feb. 27

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — $10 & up

INFO — 443-5600

The daughter of Italian immigrants to the United States, Frassetto studied at Alessandro Fersen's Theatre Academia in Rome from 1967 to 1969 and completed her training in mime, acrobatics and dance at Roy Bosier's Teatro Studio. Between 1969 and November 1970, she worked in Rome in pantomime and theater productions.

She was, she admits, deeply influenced by great mimes like Marcel Marceau, who defined the art in the 1960s.

"We didn't want to walk his way, because we knew no one could be as good as Marcel Marceau," she says. "My studies were mime, but after awhile, I had a different vision. I didn't want to 'pretend' objects; I wanted to have objects. It was something closer to Commedia Dell'arte, no? Then I met Andres and Bernie, and we decided to form a triangle and work together, and we started an adventure never thinking we would last more than two weeks! It was a bit of mime, a bit of Commedia Dell Arte, but a lot of body sculpture in the objects. We seemed to have the necessity to mask our bodies into these objects or these animals and give them a personality -- a bit like a live cartoon, if you wish."

Their first world tour ended with two shows at Lincoln Center, and a rave review by a "great dance critic was our door opening for the future." Frassetto says in 47 years, they created at least 100 skits, and she's added 20 new ones for "you&me," coming to the Walton Arts Center on Feb. 27. The new material incorporates modern-day sine qua nons like cell phones, but it brings the same magic to open hearts of all ages, she believes.

"Kids are definitely different, but nonetheless we have this communication," she says. "Yes, I think audiences have changed, but nonetheless the children still feel emotion, still laugh at something simple and poetic. Their attention span is still there, and their emotional span is still happy to play with us."

NAN What's Up on 02/25/2018