What is mime? Mime is a performance were the actor only uses gestures and facial expressions. Mimics don’t talk and mostly use sound or music. They hardly use real objects but if they do they use very few maybe only one.
Mime came from sign language and evolved into entertainment. Mime began in western Rome and Greece. Every year Greeks had a festival to celebrate their God DIONYSUS. He was the God of the wine, fertility and celebration. The Greeks held performances were the people competed each other, one had to be a ‘tragedy’ and one had to be a ‘comedy’ this is were the sign for drama came from. They were worn because the stages in the past were outside and the carved out the seats in mountains. The actors had to were these masks which were very big so the audience at the back could see what is going on. They also had to use exaggerated movement so the audience could see.
When drama later arrived in the UK in the Middle Ages the performances gradually became vulgar. The church which made a lot of decisions at the time became very strict about storylines. The church therefore had many of the performances done as part of its religious ceremonies. However, the people soon got bored of these religious performances in Latin, a language the common man did not know. As a result the plays soon left the church again, giving rise to the three earliest forms of British plays: Mystery, Miracle and Morality plays.
Mystery plays based on Bible stories were popular. Clergymen were the actors. Each presentation was broken up, and staged all over town. One stage was located right outside the local church. Another scene might be staged in a wagon that was pulled through town. Some scenes were placed in different parts of town. The audience moved from stage to stage. The mystery plays were quite fun and very well attended by commoners and nobles alike. The stories included the Birth of Jesus, The Wise Men, and the Flight Into Egypt. It should be obvious what Miracle and Morality plays were about.
Skene - Main stage Where the actual performance takes place. Seats Where the audience sit. Orkestra -Chorus This is were a group of people stood to narrate the play so the audience can understand what is going in. Greek Theatre
Social - People performed to become famous and to entertain everyone. This is an event for everyone to come and join in. mimes have become part of cultural identity of some regions like France and are a main feature in many festivals.
Technological - Back in the days before technology was invented the
performers used man made noises. For example a group of people standing at the Okestra would be the voice of one character so people at the end of the outdoor theatre would be able to hear. Where as now people use microphones to project their voices.
Economic - Theatre was very demanding industry and so people performed for money. It has provided jobs for many creative people. Mime is one area of drama that needs more funding from the government to develop further.
Historical - Theatre was unknown and most people dismissed it in the Tudor times. Queen Elizabeth wanted to help promote theatre so she invested money in theatre because she was very passionate about it.
Charlie Chaplin was one of the most best mimics of our time or ‘silent’ movie star. he was born in 1889 and died 1977. He was best known for his character, the naive and lovable Little Tramp. The Little Tramp. He wore raggedy suit with cane. Charlie was born in England and then toured in America and stayed there filming in the early 19th century television was really basic. It must have been really difficult to make things funny. So what Charlie did was use bold, wired movement and exaggerated emotions so people understood and recognized what he was feeling.
Mime became very popular around Paris in the 1800’s. there was quit a few very famous mime artist in France such as Marcel Marcaeu, Etinne Decroux Jean Louis Barrault and many more. The new wave of theatre in France (1930-50) were very focused on physical theatre and used mime as a tool for research, training and productions. Soon mime became a ‘FRENCH THING’ (synonymous to France).
Marcel Marceau was born 22 March 1923 in Strasbourg, France and died 22 September 2007. He was a very famous mime artist who was born in France and most of his performances were there to. Marcel was only a teenager when WW2 and fled with his family to Limegos. Marcel and his brother changed their last name to ‘Marceau’ soon after their father (kosher butcher) was arrested and taken into a concentration camp. The two brothers joined the French Resistance in Limoges, where they saved numerous children from the race laws and concentration camps. Marcel started miming as a way of keeping the children quiet.
Once that war was finished Marcel became a student in Charles Dullin's School of Dramatic Art, in the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in Paris, where he studied with teachers like Joshua Smith and the great master, Étienne Decroux, who had also taught Jean-Louis Barrault. Marceau joined Barrault's company .
Jean was also a French mime, actor and director who studied mime with Etienne Decroux. Over his career, he acted in nearly 50 French movies including Les beaux jours, Jenny, L'Or dans la Montagne and Sous les Yeux d'occident .
Mr. Bean is a very famous English mimic played by Rowan Akinson. But the difference with Mr. Bean is that he performs in a set with objects . Mr. Bean doesn’t talk so that is related to mime and he always has exaggerated facial expressions so people understand his feelings.
Mimes mostly wear black and white clothes. Make up is an essential element of the mime ‘look’ and to complete it, white face paint has to be applied. Black colored lip paint and other colored face paint can be applied for making the mime attractive.