What is so entertaining about Mimes?

If you have ever seen a performing mime, you cannot help but be fascinated by the theatrical stories that they tell.  Your attention focuses on the actor, such as in a game of charades, as an amazing tale begins to unfold with sophisticated clarity.

Mimes

Mimes

     Using elaborate gestures, mime in America has grown into an eclectic form of emotions. Throughout history, pantomime was different than Mime. In pantomime, there is silence throughout the performance with only gestures used to tell a story. Mime included speech, props and dance to treat the audience to an entertaining display of different skills in movement.

Pantomime

Pantomime

      Today, two major types of mime have evolved into a performing art that blends, in a new balance, the arts of acting, moving, pantomime, playwriting and design; literal and abstract, or a combination of both.  

     Literal mime is primarily used for comedy and story-telling theater. Literal mime generally tells a story with a conflict through the use of a main character. The actions and visual design clearly tell the viewers a story which is usually humorous.

 Marcel Marceau & Michael Jackson

Marcel Marceau & Michael Jackson

     Abstract mime is used to generate feelings, thoughts and images from a serious topic or issue. Normally there is no plot or central character. It is considered a more intuitive experience or image rather than literal actions.

Shields & Yarnelle

Shields & Yarnelle

     There are very few mime and pantomime schools, but those that choose this road make some of the most passionate performers in the world. See if you recognize these performers.

     It might not be surprising to know that Robin Williams worked outside of the Museum of Modern Art as a mime for extra cash during his younger days. Also, think of how entertaining Red Skelton, Harpo Marx and Charlie Chaplin were as pantomimes.

     If you want to learn more about the art of mime, see: www.mime.info for a list of schools both in the US and abroad.

By Kate Eglan-Garton




Published by on May 2016. Filed under Art-in-Performance Section, Art-to-Art Palette Journal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment for “What is so entertaining about Mimes?”

  1. As a performer, you often work either in a theater or auditorium or at an outdoor event. A circus, a theme park, or a fair passing through town may all hire Mimes to work with the crowds and entertain people as they move throughout the park.

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