MLT’s Pippin: Magic to Do, Just for You

The most recent production performed by Mines Little Theater was Pippin. The musical ran from April 7- April 15 at the American Mountaineering Museum. Each performance lasted approximately two and a half hours, with a brief intermission between acts one and two.

The musical follows the story of Pippin, a young man searching for meaning in his life. He is an untried actor and a rambunctious acting troupe follows him on his quest.

The opening song, “Magic To Do” sets the stage for an elaborate, high-energy show throughout. Early in the show we meet Pippin’s father, Charlemagne,  learn of the somewhat disconnected relationship between the two.

For his first attempt at finding meaning, Pippin joins his father and step-brother, Lewis, in a war against the Visigoths, hoping to prove himself.

After seeing the mass casualties and being left in a field of bodies, Pippin decides that the battle scene is not for him, and runs away until he finally stops at his grandmother Berthe’s house. She tells him, through song, that he ought to be more carefree and enjoy his life experiences more. Taking this advice to heart, Pippin goes on a multitude of uniquely interpreted sexcapades. While enjoyable at first, Pippin ultimately finds these encounters meaningless and empty.

The troupe leader convinces Pippin that he might find fulfillment in challenging a tyrant, such as his own father. The easily-swayed Pippin agrees and, catching Charlemagne off-guard during a prayer at the chapel in Arles, proceeds to murder him. He then takes the throne and begins to accept petitions from his citizens.

Having no experience ruling, he makes catastrophic blunders that leave him with no army. Realizing his faults, he begs the troupe leader to resurrect his father so he may retake the throne.

After three failed attempts at finding a meaningful life, Pippin collapses barefoot in the street. Seeing the magnificent arch of his foot, a widowed farm-owner, Catherine, picks him up and takes him home with her.

She makes sure he is well looked after until he comes to. Pippin stays with Catherine and her son Theo for a year, but decides he must venture on if he really wants to find a purpose in life.

The troupe tries to convince Pippin that in order to truly find purpose, he should complete the ultimate act, the “finale”.

They tell him he ought to jump into a box of fire in order to become one with the flame. While hesitant at first, he eventually gives in. The only thing that stops him is the actress from the troupe who plays Catherine. She and Theo join Pippin on stage and go off script, showing him simple joy in life.

The troupe leader becomes angry that Catherine is stealing Pippin from them and demands all accessories (lighting, music, costume, etc.) be taken away.

Even with the bare stage and dim light, Pippin and Catherine stay together. At the very end, Theo begins to sing about finding his own purpose, and the troupe creeps back on stage to carry on the cycle with him.

The members of MLT executed this satirical play with high energy and great audience involvement. The majority of the two and a half hours was filled with laughter and cheering. During the performance, members of the cast threw out t-shirts with their cell phone numbers in a brilliant attempt to connect with the audience. This production was well worth the seven dollars.

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