You can view a small video example at
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Plan #1 Class Plan
#2 Class Plan
#3 Class Plan #4
used as a term to describe mime in general, I like to use pantomime
to describe a slightly different style. It is the art of
storytelling with gestures. The performer is narrating
the story, even making comments on the narrative as it
unfolds. For example; the narrator may point to
a spot on stage and step into that area and become the
character. The performer acts out that characters'
action and then returns to the narrators' position.
The narrator reacts to the scene that has just happened and
then takes the audience to the next scene. It has been
a common technique for mimes to spin into the new position
however this is not necessary and can sometimes, simply make
Pantomime has its' strongest association
with the legendary 19th century French performer, Jean
Gespard Debureau. Debureau is the focus of the
Marcel Carne film, "Children of Paradise".
We discuss this brief history of the style and its origins
in Paris where certain styles of theatre were forbidden by
law to use words. We then work with a Pierrot and Columbine piece
originally created in mime school and then later modified by myself.
Pierrot is portrayed as a hopeless
romantic. (Female students are encouraged to find the
feminine version of this.) Pierrot sees Columbine and
tells the audience, "She's beautiful".
Pierrot then asks her out on a picnic and describes for her
a perfect day in the park with sandwiches and wine.
All through this he keeps making comments to the
audience. He asks her to accept. He looks over
and shows the audience her response. He steps into her
spot and acts out her listening to and refusing the
proposal. When Columbine gives the final emphatic
"no", Pierrot as narrator returns to his spot and
tells the audience he's heart broken. The students
then perform the pantomime using different pieces of
music. This allows them to see how different music
affects the story. They are encouraged to adapt the
story on the spot according to how they respond personally
to the music. They then create their own modern versions of this scenario both
as silent, solo narrators and then in pairs.
Each class begins with a physical warm-up focusing on relaxation and centering.
I then take them through a "pantomime
conversation" in which I tell them what they are saying
and how many gestures they have to communicate it to the
audience. The next step is to work with both silent and verbal
narration. (The verbal aspect is only worked with when we
have multiple sessions.)
The subject of their performance piece at
the end of the series is
a choice between Shakespeare's, Romeo & Juliet or a
children's story. The task is to reduce the play or story
down to just the storyline and several essential scenes. The
students all take turns encapsulating the stories in their
own words. The class is broken up into two or three groups
and they then tell their own version of the play using
classical pantomime storytelling and verbal storytelling.
Each student in the group must take a turn narrating.
Things to remember
The storyteller must make direct eye
contact with the audience members.
React as the narrator to the section of the
story you have just finished.
All gestures must be as big as
possible. Use your full stretch. Make yourself
bigger by stepping and pointing to the new area.
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