Mimic, making it’s US Premiere at the Irish Arts Center now through March 20th, is a fascinating melding of character, performance art and the Irish tradition of storytelling. It is a one man show that is engaging and hypnotic.
Mimic is written, composed and performed by Raymond Scannell. He accompanies himself on the piano as he tells the story of Mimic, an adopted son of an Irish family. Mimic is a young man, Julian Neary, who is an adapt impersonator of others, both celebrities and family members. He uses this talent to entertain friends, family and schoolmates.
But Julian’s talent to entertain is not welcomed by his family, particularly a strict father who keeps the family stuck in a 1950s mindset and style. Enjoying the piano and music, he is given the basement (“banished” – as he says), where both he and his sister take advantage of the separate entry. Julian and his adopted sister have a mutual attraction that can only lead to trouble.
This is the set-up of the show. Julian’s abilities ultimately lead him out of his family’s spiritual home and into fast friends, parties and drugs. Eventually Julian physically leaves Ireland to go to England – where he reunites with his sister, and then to the United States.
After a stint in the states, he returns to an Ireland a decade or so in the future. Societal norms have changed, and Julian struggles to adjust.
Mimic is the story of alienation and loss of grounding in the face of culture change. As such, it is a perfect metaphor for the changes in Ireland, from basket case to Celtic Tiger to economic bust. These changes occurred so swiftly and so removed from the Irish people’s actions, that a cultural whiplash was bound to occur. It is this view of emotion that Mimic mines effectively.
Accompanied by a piano, a raft of impersonations and a gift of story telling, the story of Mimic is engaging. It is presented quietly, blurring the line between reality and fiction to where one often thinks Mr. Scannell is telling his own story, his gift for voices and his flashes of emotion are woven into the story so well.
Mimic is directed and designed by Tom Creed. And, although it is a one man show, the lighting and music plays an integral part in the telling of Julian Neary’s story. Mimic is well worth your time.
Mimic: Through March 20
Irish Arts Center (Web Site)
Director: Tom Creed
Writer / Composer / Cast: Raymond Scannell