Theory of Mime Art
Theory of Mime Art
There may be various forms of miming though there are some techniques of miming that are fundamental to miming as an art and can be defined as the ‘building blocks’ of miming. These basics are given below.
Also known as ‘Pointe fixe’ meaning fixed point in French, the idea behind this principle is very simple. The mime will, using his body, locate a point in space and keep its position motionless in space. Using this point as a reference, the mime then creates the illusions.
The line takes the fixed-point principle a step further adding another point in space in addition to the first one, keeping its position fixed. This is a difficult skill, as both the points have to be kept at the same relative distance from each other throughout the act. This relative distance between the two points, which is also known as the ‘constructive block’ is the defining feature of this technique. The position of the line created by the two fixed points in space may change or become ‘unfixed’ as long as the two points are kept steady in their relation to one another. The ‘mime wall’ is a good example of how this concept can be best applied.
Watch some mime wall videos on the internet and try enacting them.
The line technique does not apply force to its fixed points. When this element is added to the points, it is classified as the Dynamic line. This is the idea behind ‘pulling the rope’ or for that matter any use of force in an illusion. Dynamic Line is about physics and the forces acting upon the human body. The trick in this technique is to make the impact of an imaginary force felt throughout the body in a synchronized way. This example should help you get a sense of this technique:
Place your hands on a wall at roughly shoulder height. Make the action of pushing but do not apply much force. Try to feel the areas on your body where pressure is being built up. Apart from your hands, you should also feel some pressure in your shoulders and hips. If you can’t feel this, push harder. Experiment with different positions to get an idea of how pressure shifts from one body part to the other.
In the Dynamic Line technique, the mime will rely upon his or her memory of the actual forces felt when doing actions (like the exercise given above) to create true to life illusions of imaginary forces and the pressure exerted on different parts of the body.
This building block of miming is what is in easy terms known as ‘making things out of thin air.’ This principle is the most difficult to explain as it borrows from all the principles covered so far. The best example to illustrate this principle is that of dribbling a basketball. Dribbling the ball requires the mime to follow the principle of dynamic line, where the illusion of force is being created. Using just one hand will mean one fixed point in space. Here, the mime, instead of using two points, can give the remaining point a definite shape like a rounded palm with fingers with slightly curved fingers. The shape of the hand defines the space or fixed point of the illusion and allows the basketball, the ‘matter’, to exist in the illusion.
This way a mime can, utilizing this principle, create the illusion of many objects by manipulating space and matter
When dealing with the technical aspect, we will study corporal miming. Etienne Decroux, a French actor and director invented this form of mime. Corporal miming places greater emphasis on the actor’s body and not other aspects such as voice, lighting, costume, or set design. The philosophy of this school of miming is all about creating actors who can express themselves using their bodies. Students who want to learn this form of mime have to undergo a rigorous physical technique. Corporal miming or corporal articulation teaches you techniques like moving the head without moving the neck, moving the bust without moving the legs and more. By focusing on articulating the movement needed to convey an emotion or action, the student can move body parts to enhance the clarity of his/her expression.
The other part of the technical aspect will include walking and displacements on stage as when you walk you are displacing space. These aspects too, are directly linked to articulation of movement in space.
Lastly, you will also understand the placement of the weight, the use of counterweights, and the dynamo-rhythms.