The Mime Artist

"No Talking!...Please!"

Using mime as a theatrical medium, the actor tells a story through body motions and everything is performed without the use of speech.

HISTORY of Mime:

1.) The performance of pantomime originates at its earliest in Ancient Greece; the name is taken from a single masked dancer called Pantomimus, although performances were not necessarily silent.

2) A "pantomime" was originally a group of actors who imitated people in the streets. This was known to be accompanied by sung narrative and instrumental music, often played on the flute.

NOTE: The word later came to be applied to the performance itself.

3.) The pantomime was a popular form of entertainment in Greece and Rome. Later it became the dumbshow and it's influence on performance was world wide. However, no ancient scripts have survived over the many years, partly because the genre was looked down upon by the literary elite. The silent plays were because of the laws in place (in the 1500-1700's) that were to try and stop any spoken word on the stage.

NOTE: Theater genres like Commedia and Contemporary Improv have the original pantomimes to thank for legitimizing the comic stock character, low brow, scripted physical comedy in the theater.   

4.) Official pantomime is known today in Britain as a staged Christmas play with music, having evolved from a century of staged fairytales (from the 1700's) that were always performed around the holiday season. They still carry many of the same themes and styles.

5.) The Mime Artist become the performer who acts without words that has lead to contempoary theatericals productions like the circus, burlesque, cirque de solie, clowning, physical comedy, and all of the slapstick sitcom comedy and talent pagaentry that has evolved throught the last 60 years of television.


A physical theatre technique, a new way to look at theatre
a contemporary artform.

Etienne Decroux’s dramatic corporeal mime is taking the body as a main means of expression and the actor as a starting point for creation with the aim of “making the invisible visible” (Etienne Decroux), of allowing the actor to show thought through movement.
Art of movement rather than art of silence, dramatic corporeal mime is first of all the art of the actor/actress. An actor, whatever his artistic ambition might be, must, before all, be present, “be” on stage and this presence is shown through the body. The body is what sustains the costume, what the spectator sees, what carries the voice. It is the skeleton, the hand in the glove.
Placing the body at the centre of his work, the corporeal mime actor seeks to recreate the essence of drama, to integrate in the body all principles of an action or a dramatic situation – disequilibrium, instability, causalities, rhythms – and to attain the control of the latter through learning a corporeal technique. The actor becomes sculptor and sculpture.
The dramatic corporeal mime of Etienne Decroux, as a teaching process, aims to give to the actor this control of presence on stage, of placement, displacements, actions through learning the technique, articulation, mobile statuary, improvisation and repertory.
To study a technique, as in music, multiplies the possibilities of the actor, allows him to do what he wants, not only what he can. In this way, it is a door open towards more freedom and imagination, and more clarity in in the execution.
ETIENNE DECROUX (1898 – 1991)
Having studied at Jacques Copeau’s Theatre School in France, Decroux became a cinema and theatre actor and collaborated with, among others, Antonin Artaud, Charles Dullin, Louis Jouvet and Marcel CarnĂ© in the movie ‘Les Enfants Du Paradis’. He dedicated the second part of his life to the creation of a theatre which takes the actor as the centre of the creation processand considers the actor’s body as the principal instrument. He created numerous pieces, investigated into the body’s expression for many years and gave classes at the school L’Atelier in Paris, Teatro Piccolo in Milan and the Actors’ Studio in New York. Moreover, he directed his own company and toured Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Great Britain and Israel.
In 1962, Decroux founded his school in Paris, where he taught and continued developing his technique. Many actors studied with him, among others: Jean Louis Barrault, Marcel Marceau, Jessica Lange and Michel Serrault. His work as well as his contribution to theatrical knowledge earned him worldwide recognition. His name figures among the great masters, such as Meyerhold, Stanislavsky, Grotowski, or Lecoq.
There are numerous schools (ESAD of Valencia, RESAD of Madrid, Instituto del Teatro of Barcelona, as well as schools in Paris, London, etc.) at which Etienne Decroux’ technique is taught as a complement to other physical or corporeal techniques. In Spain, however, the International School of Dramatic Corporeal Mime in Barcelona is the only one that offers a specialized and intensive training in this technique.
Pantomime – art of acting without words

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