To tell a story effectively without words is a very hard thing to do. One performer who
excels in this category of story telling is the Mime. Also called Pantomime, it is the art of
narration and expression through exaggerated body movement.
Some argue that mime really started with early man. "He must underline and dramatize his
gutteral sounds by inventing hand signals and gestures, by adopting physical attitudes, by imitating
animals and inanimate objects, by acting out the needs of the movement."1
To Romans mime referred to simply performed comedic plays, while pantomime had a
more serious theme in it and it combined the use of masks to show different characters.
The Italian style of mime involves no elaborate make-up or props. It is generally known
for it's big broad style. Actions are not as real as they are exaggerated. An example of an actor
who used the Italian portrayal of Mime was the great Charlie Chaplin.
French mime is the youngest of adopted mime styles. It involves simple costume and
make-up. Usually a black and white ensemble will be worn with black and white make-up. The
style attempts to mimic human gestures realistically. An example of a French style mime is the
infamous Marcel Marceau.
Mime can also be done in an Oriental style. This style uses many elaborate costumes, wigs
and make-up. Usually stock characters are used. It also includes a more "gymnastic" tone to it.
There are two basic types of mime, the literal mime and the abstract mime. The literal
mime is most commonly used and involves telling a story, usually comedic, in such a way that the
audience knows exactly what is being acted out. In abstract mime there is not really a plot instead
it attempts to use feelings and thoughts. It...