I don’t know what will stay with me longer: Bill Bowers' story about disapproving Amish children who had no idea what a mime was, or his tale about his stint at a nudist resort, or the one about the time he got “screwed” by a famous hooker. Bowers has traveled all over the world and experienced just about every level of crazy you can throw at him; lucky for us, he is sharing his whacky and unpredictable travelogue through his one-man show, All Over the Map, now playing at Theatre Row.
A professionally trained mime who studied under none other than Marcel Marceau, Bowers spent the bulk of his successful career careening all over the country and the world – often in questionable buses. During these travels, from his humble beginnings in Montana to his touring days in Macedonia and beyond, Bowers uncovered a treasure-trove of characters and unbelievable situations. He fills his show with both lighthearted observations and philosophical thoughts, mixing heartfelt and poignant moments with downright obscure and whacky stories that had me mopping up my wet mascara. His mime skills were beautifully incorporated in an unencumbered delivery, a natural extension of his captivating storytelling abilities. It is a treat for those of us who are less traveled to hear of his experiences, from meeting a humble farmer who recognized his children’s education should include exposure to the arts, to witnessing the controversial destruction and reconstruction of the LGBT rainbow structure in Warsaw, Poland.
Bowers also successfully instilled in me a compassion for people I might otherwise have dismissed, and a newfound appreciation of the humble bus. He leaves the stories for what they are -- in their own simplicity, in their own humor, in their own majesty, in their own quirkiness, and in their own moral standings. He doesn’t push to impose on them any deeper meaning or embellish for the sake of entertainment, nor does he need to: the stories stand on their own as a hilarious, exasperating, and beautiful collection of anecdotes.