A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup
nytheatre.com review by Mary Beth Smith
February 20, 2013
Yanomi in a scene from A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup
When sitting down in a theater to review a show, I generally know what to expect. There will probably be a beginning, middle, and an end. There will probably be a conflict and a resolution, there is a seventy percent (which is an entirely arbitrary number on my part) chance there will be words unless it’s a dance piece. These conventions are comforting and no matter the content I know I will be able to write a clear, concise review of the show.
Enter A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup. The best way to describe this production is as a type of brilliant madness. Presented by the Shoshinz company, with Japanese actress Yanomi playing Miss Hiccup, this one woman show is a mixture of clown, mime, and (a little) opera that takes the audience wordlessly through a day in the life of the title character.
Miss Hiccup steps on stage as a hunched woman shuffling through life. When she tries to introduce herself she hiccups her way through a series of nonsensical sounds. Once the music begins, however Miss Hiccup does an amazing routine of perfectly choreographed (and able bodied) morning calisthenics. Once the music ends she reverts back to her hunched over self until she stumbles upon a new task for the day and the music begins again with a cacophony of mimed effects in tow. For the most part Miss Hiccup spends the day alone singing, dancing, playing baseball, and using a little bit of Queen to lull a crying baby next door to sleep. But there are a couple of moments when she breaks the fourth wall and comes into the audience. One of the most endearing moments in the performance I witnessed was when she enticed an audience member to play a game of ping pong with her from his seat. It was a charming moment between audience and performer that endeared both participants to the entire watching audience.
Miss Hiccup’s life is particularly relevant to New York City, living in a small space, having coveted alone time it’s hard not to imagine oneself dancing around to music while brushing one’s teeth or creating a vivid play out of cracking eggs. Yanomi does not just present an exaggerated image of daily life, but rather she shows us how much fun daily life can be regardless of how mundane it may appear on the outside.
Aside from Yanomi’s performance itself, the sound design and choreography deserve high praise. Taking familiar music such as Queen’s “We Will Rock You” or “Votre Toast” from Carmen and overlaying it with atmospheric sounds effects such as breathing, chewing, cracking eggs, babies crying etc. and choreographing her movements precisely to those sounds was fascinating to watch. The timing is spot on and creates a world like no other.
If you are looking for a whimsical show with a lot of heart A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup is the ticket you are looking for. You may walk out of the theater unsure of how to describe what you have participated in, but you will nonetheless be glad for the experience.