In one of Mummenschanz’s most famous routines, a plug meets a socket and quickly completes an electrical circuit as the sparks literally fly. For the last 38 years, the Swiss troupe has been diving the inherent comedy (and drama) of everyday interactions into short, breathtaking pantomimes. After the death of founder Andres Boussard in 1992, Mummenschanz expanded into a quintet, but its emphasis on delivering sophisticated visual puns remains unaltered. The group explores the adult world through childlike eyes with a mix of full-body costumes of anthropomorphized elements (sheets of paper, a pair of hands) and fanciful creatures suggested by elaborate masks. The grace with which they move within these costumes has created a practical foundation for modern-day troupes like Blue Man Group and Momix to create equally screwball imaginary landscapes. This hyper-aware style of presentation holds a mirror up to society—albeit one that’s reflecting endless rolls of cascading toilet paper—and the result is both ridiculous and sublime.
MUMMENSCHANZ PERFORMS AT 8 P.M. (ALSO 3 P.M. OCT. 31) AT THE ALDEN THEATER, 1234 INGLESIDE AVE., MCLEAN. $40. (703) 790-0123.