Mime date s back to pre-historic times when there were cavemen. As there was no verbal language, they communicated using mime. It is one of the oldest tools of self-expression. This soon became a form of entertainment used by the Greeks.
It was recognised by the Ancient Greeks and took place in the theatre of Dionysus, Athens.
Masked actors would perform outdoors in front of audiences of 10,000 or more in honour of Dionysus, the God of theatre.
Then when the Romans conquered Greece, they brought the mime to Italy. This then continued through the middle ages. It reached its height in the sixteenth century in the form of Commedia dell’Arte. Street performers would wear masks with exaggerated expressions to draw attention to themselves and to complement their acrobatic skills.
There were still more processes in which mime and drama as a whole has gone through.
After Commedia Dell’ Arte was the Tudors (this includes Elizabethan and Shakespearean.) They began doing simple plays in the church but when more space was needed, they would spill out on to the streets. In order to signal that the plays were on, they would fly a flag and everyone would be aware that a play was going to take place. The Tudors loved to have lots of noise in their plays and would use things like fireworks and drums etc.
The final section is drama and mime today. Drama and mime has taken a whole new turn in the modern times. It has become a very popular source of entertainment and is a job area that many people want to get into. The mimes of today are very talented and use their bodies and expressions to make everything seem so real.
I think that the use of sound effects was influenced by the Tudors that we use today . They were very creative when it came to them using special effects like using a pigs organs when someone was being stabbed so real blood would spill.
Also in the Tudor times, people would pay extra money in order to get a better seat. This may have influenced the economy and how we pay extra for seats in a play or performance.
The way that our theatres are today were probably influenced by the grand theatres that were used in Greece back in the day.
A social factor that affected mime is the freedom of speech. Some powerful groups, like the government, do not allow criticism to be said against them so people would protest through mime. This way they wouldn’t have to literally say something.
There are many famous mimics that hit the stages a long time ago. Mimics such as Charlie Chaplin, Marcel Marceau and Robert Shields.
Charlie Chaplin was born into the performing field as his father was a vocalist and an actor while his mother was an actress and singer. You could say Chaplin was born to perform. He got his first shot to stardom in the film ‘Sherlock Holmes.’ He played a small part but it opened opportunities and from there he went on to becoming a comedian in vaudeville . This was very different to mime. He soon found an interest in doing mime and became one of the worl ds most famous mime.
Another famous mime from a long time ago was Marcel Marceau. Unlike Charlie Chaplin, his parents were not performers. His dad was a butcher and his mum a native alsation. Marcel Marceau developed his love for mime when he was five years old and was watching one of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘moving pictures.’ Borrowing his fathers paint, he drew a moustache and began to imitate Chaplin. After he decided to go into theatre. He became a worldwide attraction and his name is still known today.
By time it reached the mid-twentieth century, France was a mime hot-spot. But before all that, mime started with Gasbard Deburau. He would devise his own scenes to mime. Later on in around 1923, Jacques Copeau founded his own Theatre. He would teach his students all aspects of mime.