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Mime is a form of acting and drama where
the actor uses his or her body and gestures
and also facial expressions rather than words
to express his or her 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Skene- Main Stage
This is where the performance takes
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.
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.
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 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.
Marcel Marceau was a famous French mime
artist who died recently on 22nd September
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 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.
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 is when different performers come
and perform in various different venues.