David Gaines plays more than a dozen characters in his one-man theatrical masterpiece, 7 (x1) Samurai, an affectionate takeoff of Akira Kurosawaâ??s seminal film epic, The Seven Samurai, a movie later remade by Hollywood into the western, The Magnificent Seven.
Gaines is a classically trained movement performer and clown, who, in the showâ??s program, acknowledges the early artistic support of the Celebration Mime Theatreâ??s Tony Montanarro, a teacher who mentored an entire generation of highly sophisticated and inventive physical actors.
Like Montanarro, who eschewed the prissiness of the Marceau school of modern mime, Gainesâ?? corporealness is not always polished and precise, although when he wants to, he too can create any of the classic mime illusions â?? he just doesnâ??t care to stay with them longer than theatrically necessary. Imbuing his hour-long piece with a resourceful physical genius, as well as countless voiced sound effects, Gainesâ?? stage movements are always direct, robust and athletic, and this pleasurable show is filled with hundreds of clearly delineated visual allusions.
While Gainesâ?? comedy is sometimes as unsubtle as a Wile E. Coyote cartoon, he can also zero in his audienceâ??s attention to the tiniest stage picture or vocal inflection. One note: knowing the plot and characters of the original film(s) is bound to be helpful, but even without this familiarity, it is easy to enjoy Gainesâ?? brilliant â??retellingâ?� of this classic tale of good triumphing over evil.