By David Walters

It all started with the costumes.

Talking Band‘s new show, Shimmer and Herringbone running through May 19, began it’s life with the inspired costume designs of Olivera Gajic. Inspired from those drawings and developing the play in its lab, the result is a colorful journey of tense friendships, farcical self-discovery, and new clothes that parallels our current society and the harried dance of our lives.

With their “past stuck to their ass like a greasy paper bag,” the seven characters in the cast move about the clothing store, Shimmer and Herringbone, trying to lose that personal paper bags by trying on new personas and redefining how they see themselves and their relationships behind the shield that new clothes can bring. As the characters progress throughout the show the costumes grow more glittering and glorious as does the frenetic pace of the play. If you don’t know of Talking Band’s work, it exists in a genre undefined. Both deep and off-handed it is madcap and quirky, philosophical and entertaining to watch.

Along with the spinning projection screens that operate like exit and entry doors that define the space, the play is also defined by the haunting and enchanting onstage live music score (cello and two violins) composed by Ellen Maddow. Music is always an important element in Talking Band’s work. Bringing it onstage moves it closer to both actors and audience making it participatory and spontaneous.

And, Talking Band is 50 years old this year! Shimmer and Herringbone is the third show of this season for them, the two previous being The Following Evening and Existentialism, both dynamite and sharp in their execution. Their shows are developed in a one to two year incubation period  After such a long gestation, it’s a shame that they only see the light of day for such a short period of time (through May 19). I urge you to not let the ephemeral nature of theater slip by and get a ticket now. This is a theater company at the top of their game creating work that can only come from masters at their craft.

Shimmer and Herringbone is presented by Talking Band in association with Mabou Mines. It is written by Ellen Maddow and Paul Zimet in collaboration with Olivera Gajic.

The cast includes Ebony Davis, James Tigger! Ferguson, Ellen Maddow, Lizzie Olesker, Tina Shepard, Louise Smith, and Jack Wetherall. The musicians are: Rachel Feldhaus, Marija Kovacevic, and Agustin Uriburu.

Additional creatives include: Anna Kiraly (set and projection design), Mary Ellen Stebbins (lighting design), Sean Donovan (choreography), Olivia Facini (assistant director, production stage manager), and Coco McNeil (assistant stage manager).

The show is running Wednesdays through Sundays until May 19 at Mabou Mine’s second floor theater (150 First Avenue). Tickets can be purchased here. Running time approximately 80 minutes.