Theatre has been a mirror to the society since ages. With time, it has grown to have many types and forms. One such true piece of art is mime.
Mime is a theatrical medium of performing art. It emphasises on conveying the message without using any words. It depends on body movements, gestures, and facial expressions. “To communicate through silence is a link between the thoughts of a man,” said French actor and mime artist, Marcel Marceau.
Mime is known to have originated from ancient Greece. Right from its inception, it had a great influence on society. There have been a large number of plays and films based on mime, both nationally and internationally. This strong and creative means of art gave rise to some of the most legendary artists. Charlie Chaplin and Rowan Atkinson, who is popularly known as Mr. Bean, have become household names.
“Imagination means nothing without doing”, said none other than Chaplin himself.
Mime is often found similar to Indian ‘Natya’. Communication through gestures and expressions is common to both mime and Indian classical dance forms. Kathakali and Bharatnatyam also revolve around face makeup and body movements. Generally, mime artists wear white paint on their faces and use black paint to highlight their brows and other facial features. Mimers are often mistaken for jokers. Although both of them share some common characteristics, they are distinguished from one another.
Cinema, stage plays, and literature are profoundly influenced by this art form. ‘The Last Butterfly’ was the first-ever inclusion in literature that was based on a mime artist. It was later adapted into a film as well. There are a large number of films that have included mime elements in it. Children’s movies from Paradise, Shanks, Batman, Angry Birds movie, and the recent Pokémon detective Pikachu, are a few examples of it.
Mimes are still a thing in the world of memes, but have somewhat lost their charm.
Institutes like IMT (Indian Mime Theatre), Indian Mime Academy in Kolkata, and Mime Academy in Assam, are toiling hard to keep its charm alive.