Mimes speak!
September 16, 2011 9:06 PM   Subscribe

Mime is an art. Mime is a craft. Mime is movement as complex as moonwalking, or as simple as nodding one's head to say yes. Often I've heard mime defined as non-verbal communication. (a negative term) I prefer to define it simply: Mime is visual communication. The basic techniques of Mime are explained by YouTube videos....

  • The Wall: The Wall was invented by Tony Montanaro, although there may have been walls before.
  • Lifting stuff, or how to portray the influence of mass.
  • Walking. Walking is difficult, but with effort it can be done in many ways: Sure, you know the moonwalk, did you know it was invented by Charlie Chaplin? Or maybe it was invented a minute or so into this video. That's not the point. Mime walking is a special art. Here are five people mime walking: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I'm not sure I got that last link right.
  • Climbing a ladder. This is difficult enough to do without PhotoShop, but then even old mimes like Marcel Marceau have trouble going up stairs.
posted by twoleftfeet (32 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Shit, I hit the "Post" button when I meant to Preview. Anyway, ultimately I meant to include a link to the this Previous: Why do people hate mimes?
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:09 PM on September 16, 2011

Shit, I hit the "Post" button when I meant to Preview.

Hey... I tried!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:17 PM on September 16, 2011

What changed my mind about mime as an art.

Because if an art cannot engage and entrance, if it cannot evolve and change, it's not worth much as art.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:20 PM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Situation's changed, Jed. Hand me my mime rifle.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 9:20 PM on September 16, 2011

posted by empath at 9:21 PM on September 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Hey... I tried!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:17 PM

Yeah, well, I was only halfway done with the editing process. It's kind of interesting to throw a random mistake into the mix though. But again, yeah, it shouldn't be a design feature.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:30 PM on September 16, 2011

When I was in college, I became a groupie of the campus mime company. Can't remember why, now, though a crush on a member or two is probably behind it. I went from attending shows, to learning to run a light board, to a show during which I ran, yes, SOUND for the mime company. I just loved telling people "I ran sound for a mime company." Sound was actually a really important element - since the performers couldn't talk, voiceovers and music became much more important.

On a road trip, someone from another performing group asked me something about the sound equipment in the theater (I was running lights that time) and I said "Sorry, I'm with the mime company," meaning, "I'm not familiar with this place." They responded "Oh! I'm sorry," blushed, and scurried off. I'm still not sure whether they felt sorry for me working with the mimes, or were embarrassed that they asked a mime company person about sound.

They actually did some pretty cool dramatic pieces, as well as a lot of funny bits. They also knew how to poke fun at themselves. One of the pieces they did was called "Mimes Anonymous" - "It started with simple things - a few walls, walking against the wind. But soon I was making entire boxes!"

Anyway, fond memories.
posted by booksherpa at 9:35 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I meant to include videos for pulling on a rope (Terry Lin), this person, or this Black woman.

An incredible amount of thought goes into a post like this. It's not just about pulling a rope.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:44 PM on September 16, 2011

Well, I screwed up. But please do have a look at Black Woman Mime. For example, going up stairs, trapped in a box, gettin' paid.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:07 PM on September 16, 2011

Clowns Vs Mimes
The link above goes to the 1992 Bobcat Goldthwait film, Shakes the Clown.

"I like Shakes the Clown. Haven't you heard? It's the Citizen Kane of Alcoholic Clown Movies!" - Martin Scorsese.

Sorry, all you mimes out there, I could not resist.
posted by dougzilla at 10:50 PM on September 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry, all you mimes out there

The Union of Mimes has no comment.

I'll be silent now. Thank you all, I'll be here all week.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:55 PM on September 16, 2011

"The Union of Mimes"

Now that's the silent majority!
posted by greenhornet at 10:58 PM on September 16, 2011

What changed my mind about mime as an art.

Less mime, more manzai!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:14 PM on September 16, 2011

Less mime, more manzai!

Man, those jackets are killer. Not to mention that microphone.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:53 PM on September 16, 2011

posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:42 AM on September 17, 2011

Man, those jackets are killer. Not to mention that microphone.

And if I'm not mistaken, that's a young Beat Takashi on the left.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:57 AM on September 17, 2011

Never again will I talk shit about mimes.

Or, indeed, vice versa.
posted by cromagnon at 4:56 AM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Mime is a craft

You could call it Mimecraft
posted by delmoi at 6:00 AM on September 17, 2011

Less mime, more manzai!
Standup comedy is 1000 years old?

Also- Mime is money
posted by MtDewd at 6:23 AM on September 17, 2011

It wasn't until I saw the fantastic 1945 flick "Children of Paradise" that I realized that mimes could, in theory, be awesome.

Check this out.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:30 AM on September 17, 2011

Sadly there are no good compilations of Mime Time on YouTube, so you'll have to make do with this lower-quality one.
posted by hippybear at 6:33 AM on September 17, 2011

Havelock Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, is (in)famous for rarely, if ever, being known to have innocent people just dragged off to dungeons without a trial: The notable exception to this rule are mime artists, whom Vetinari despises. Vetinari banned all mime performances from Ankh-Morpork shortly after taking power. Mime artists who violate the ban usually find themselves hanging upside down in Vetinari's scorpion pit whilst reading a sign saying 'learn the words'.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:58 AM on September 17, 2011

I guess there are worse things than street mime.
Also: obligatory

Just funnin' with you, twoleftfeet - great post.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:02 AM on September 17, 2011

I could probably watch Terry Lin for hours. She seems to define lithe.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:13 AM on September 17, 2011

My husband was friends with Tony Montanaro and also studied with him. Tony was also an artist and we have a little picture he gave him, of two theater masks, hanging in our dining room.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:56 AM on September 17, 2011

I clicked through to these and turned the sound up so I could hear better. It took me a few seconds of wondering why there was no sound before I remember that oh, right, that's kind of the point.
posted by Gymnopedist at 8:38 AM on September 17, 2011

If for nothing else, mime should earn some respect because without it (specifically, without Shields and Yarnell), we would not have breakdancing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:58 AM on September 17, 2011

I certainly wouldn't want to live in a world without breakdancing.
posted by longsleeves at 10:15 AM on September 17, 2011

I saw Marcel Marceau perform before he died. I know mimes are supposed to be the punchline to many jokes, but it was possibly the most moving and wonderful performance of fine art I have ever experienced.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:27 PM on September 17, 2011

+1 for Les Enfants du Paradis
posted by zangpo at 5:28 PM on September 17, 2011

Robert Shields in some very early footage on the streets of San Francisco. Note the endorsement from Red Skelton...a true honor indeed!
posted by Quasimike at 9:32 PM on September 17, 2011

I was an all-state mime in high school.

In Iowa see we had this thing called 'Speech.' But because it was Iowa it wasn't like giving speeches...it was sort of avant garde-ish theater stuff - improv, choral reading, reader's theatre, and yes - group and individual mime.

When I went out for speech, I wanted to be in choral reading. It was the 'cool' thing to be in, insofar as it was cool to be in speech. But I was put into group mime. I nearly quit. Really, mime? I told the drama teacher. She sat me down on the stairs and gave me one of those talks about not quitting and sometimes life means doing things you don't really want to and not to give up on something before you've tried it.

So I found myself learning, writing and performing mime with a mime partner that was selected for me. That first year, we became the first group from my high school to make all-state for group mime. Our mime was called "Escape," and, set to music by the Squirrel Nut Zippers, featured us escaping from adjacent jail cells to the warden's office where we ate his donuts and escaped back into our cells.

It was really fun and really rewarding, and I continued to do it and my love for mime remains to this day. I also don't knock things until I try them anymore.

The end.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:08 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Happy Owain Glyndwr Day!   |   PONPONPON de floor Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments