Mime is the most ancient performing Art in the world and, still today, attracts people in a very deep, intuitive way. Why? In its portrayal of emotion, thought and experience through the body, mime transcends cultural barriers because it is based on expression and not on appearance. Mime is a spontaneous language.
Historically, mime has passed through many different forms, from Primitive Dance to Greek and Roman Pantomime, from Commedia del Arte to the tradition of Debureau, from Asian Theatre to the Russian and Polish Schools of Mime, from the Music hall and Vaudeville to the Cinema... Over centuries, in both the west and east, many artists and masters contributed to the evolution of this art form. The art of mime is a multi-faceted world, at times totally silent and at others welcoming the use of spoken text and music.
In the 20th century, Etienne Decroux (1898-1991), student of Jaques Copeau, actor with Charles Dullin, Louis Jouvet, Gaston Baty, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Carne...) known as the "Father of Modern Mime and one of the great luminaries of the theatre world" (Sunday Times), gave Mime a true autonomy with a specific vocabulary, Repertoire and philosophy. He invented the most modern form of mime, "Dramatic Corporeal Mime", an innovative method and precise technique focusing on the vital importance of the body and physical action in theatre.
To many theatre historians, Etienne Decroux belongs to that family of Director/Pedagogues such as Gordon Craig and his theories of the super marionnette, the biomechanics of Meyerhold, Stanislavsky's actor as the master of physical action, Chekov’s psychological gesture, Grotowski's laboratory and the visions of Artaud.
WHAT IS CORPOREAL MIME
The quote on the right defines the guiding spirit of Corporeal Mime. It is about taking action and giving structure to ideas and emotions. It is learning how the human spirit might find the ultimate fulfilment in physical form. It is giving the actor the ability to do what he wants and not just what he can.
Corporeal Mime is a technique which allows the practitioner to learn, through a unique vocabulary how to express theatrically human behaviour from its most practical aspects to its more abstract and spiritual ones. It is the art of the thinking body.
Etienne Decroux said:"One of the characteristics of our world is that it is sitting down. Corporeal Mime stands up. It enjoys representing the world and all those who work with their body… To be in mime is to be a partisan, a partisan of movement in a world sitting down."
WMO is thankful to the Theatre de l'Ange fou and the International School of Corporel Mime for its contribution in texts and photos in this page. For more information please go to: www.angefou.co.uk