what is mime? Mime is a form of acting and drama where the actor uses his body and gestures and also facial expressions rather than words to express his role. Drama started before the Greek times, it was created as a form of entertainment for the local people. In the past, Greeks would hold a festival to celebrate their god Dionysus. She was the god of wine, fertility and celebration. During these festivals, Greeks would entertain the public by holding drama based performances on either comedy or tragedy. Mime artists are called mimics, they exaggerate every move they make so it defines what they are trying to show. A mimic is an actor that acts without words and their entire performance is based on their non verbal gesture and bodily movements. Mime artists usually act a story through their body, there have been many famous mime artists through the years.
how mime began... Mime is also a form of expressing yourself. In the earlier days, mime was a way of communicating with each other and once spoken language had developed mime had become a way of entertaining one another. In Greece, there is a theatre called The theatre of Dionysus which is located in Athens. This place is known for its historical performances and its carnivals that takes place once a year. In the earlier days, the only stories acted on stage either were humour based or were tragedy based. Western drama and theatrical performances were influenced by Greek performances and their cultural festivals.
G R E E K T H E A R T E Mime has been around since the ancient Geek and Roman period. It all began when Greek’s started having festivals and carnivals in honour of Dionysus, who is the Greek god of theatre. In the olden days actors would concentrate on their character a lot more than the actual plot of the story this is how mime became an exaggerated form of acting where self expression is highly important. In Greek times, they had two main genres of drama, one was comedy and one was tragedy, this developed in Athens. During all of these performances in the Greek period, the catholic church showed great opposition to mime and drama as a whole, they thought that doing performances about comedies and tragedies shouldn’t be allowed and that performances should be about religion. This is when Mystery and Morality plays started to come in focus which were religious plays. A religious play would be about Jesus Christ and Morality plays would have a good moral and teaching to the story.
G R E E K T H E A R T E Skene- Main Stage This is where the performance takes place. Orkestra- Chorus Here a group of people stand narrating the whole play so the audience get a better understanding on what is happening in the play Seats this is where the audience would sit, the chorus would usually project their voices and everything each character was saying at the same time so everyone at the top could hear what the characters dialogue was. In the olden days, the theatre was built on the bottom of a mountain and the seats were extremely high, actors would use big mask’s so the people at the back could see their faces. They also did this with voicing, the chorus would echo everything the actors would say so the sound could travel to the back.
Commedia dell' Arte Mime was successful and entertained through the middle ages and in the sixteenth century mime had become known in Italy in the name of Commedia dell’ Arte. In the past, market places in Italy were filled with mask’s which had exaggerated faces painted on them with comical features so they can grab attention to themselves. These characters where known as Zanni, this soon became a genre. Zanni performances were open to everyone of every social class. These performing troupes use to cause a lot of trouble in the Italian market places and because their identity it was easy for them to get away with making a chaos but the more trouble they made the more popular they became. These performing troupes travelled all over Europe, and language was no barrier to them. In 1576 a group of Italian players went to France where the art of mime became extremely popular.
Tudor England & MiME During Tudor England, watching and performing plays was the best form of entertainment there was. It was immensely popular. Everyone attended to theatre performances, the rich and the poor. Like now, back then to get a better seat you have to pay a little extra but theatre acting was popular amongst the youth who found it difficult to pay even a pence to just stand at the back and watch. During Tudor England, people enjoyed a lot of special effects when they went to watch a theatre performance. Even though the special effects back then are nothing compared to the special effects now, they surprised the audience. There were effects like trap doors or to make a thunder sound they’d use real cannon-balls in a box and roll it around. These effects made the performance exciting during the Tudor times and also made it popular Also, it was forbidden for women to act in theatre plays and little young boys would play the female part of the play. Costumes were really expensive so the actors use to act in their everyday clothes. Also, violent plays were popular in the Tudor times and it is said that the royal family enjoyed watching plays where there was a lot of violence and murder in it.
CHARLiE CHAPLiN Charlie Chaplin was a famous English comedian and was also a successful film director. Most of his films had slapstick comedy but were also based on social themes of the time. Charlie Chaplin was inspired by a French silent film comedian called Max Linder. Chaplin was hugely influenced by him and later dedicated one of his films to him. Chaplin was an actor for 75 years and he started acting at a very young age. Charlie Chaplin was known for his acting and his great films, he is one of the best mime artists in the world and is currently a legend. Many people get inspired by his work.
MARCUS MARCEAU Marcel Marceau was a famous French mime artist who died recently on 22 nd September 2007. Marcel Marceau was known for his striped pull over and his battered silk opera hat. This was his costume for one of his characters “Bip”. Marcel Marceau performed all around the world and was known by many people, his mime acts where inspiring and he wanted to spread the “art of silence” all around the world so people could learn to appreciate it.
MR BEAN Mr Bean is a British television programme, and Rowan Atkinson is the main character. His character is based on a child’s mind in an adults body, this character was developed when Rowan Atkinson was in university. Rowan Atkinson plays his character in a mime with random sounds that complete the character and the atmosphere of the performance. Rowan Atkinson is one of the best mime artists now and he is known for his character all throughout England.
Factors: Social: People would become actors or mimics to raise their social status, by acting and performing it would make them more known and famous. Economic: People would act to make money, in the olden days it was one of the many ways people made money and it was one of the easiest careers there were. Historical: During Tudor England, acting and drama was highly popular because Queen Elizabeth loved watching plays therefore there was always a competition between troupes to see who came up with the better performances for the Queen. These plays were always based on what the Queen liked personally. Technology: In the past the technology wasn’t so great and all the special effects were either a trap door or noises made by cannons, but now on stage there are more props and there are musicians that make the sound effects rather than a bunch of people. There are now microphones where as in the Greek times the chorus would project their voices and repeat the characters lines to people at the back of the theatre could hear them. Because of the change in technology the theatre performances now would be a lot better than what they were during the Greek times and the Tudor times.
London International Mime Festival 2010 London International Mime Festival is when different performers come and perform in various different venues.
B I B L I O G R A P H Y http://www.members.tripod.com/~kiko_mime/history.html http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/theatres_in_tudor_england.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Bean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Chaplin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Marceau