Professional mime Bill Bowers gave a lesson on the fundamentals of pantomime, explaining the challenges of bringing imaginary objects into reality for an audience.
Following is a transcript of the video.
My name’s Bill Bowers and I am a mime. I live in New York City and perform and teach mime and physical theatre.
And just imagine that right in front of us both a wall appears. An imaginary wall. And you’re going to see it with your eyes so that I’m going to see what you see. Yeah. And when you touch the wall, it has energy, too. So when you touch it, it stops your hand. Just like that! Yeah, it’s just like this. It’s like a real wall.
So this is another part of fundamental in pantomime which is called fixed point, something that’s fixed in space. So one part of your body, like your hand, is stuck in space, but the rest of your body is completely free. Look at that! You’re Mr. Mime, there it is.
You have energy and this imaginary world has energy and where the two things come together is an illusion. That’s where the imagination of the audience joins you. Your imagination meets theirs and together you create an object. Everything you create in pantomime, all illusions are basically just dots. They’re just pieces of energy and you put those dots together to form objects from the real world.
You have two points of energy but the space between them is very important as well. And you can move them anywhere you want. And now I’m going to move this dot to there, and move this dot to there. Good! And now I’m going to do it again.
So as we practice this one thing we might look at is now incorporating your wrist. This thing that our wrists have called flexion, you can use that in pantomime to be expressive, you know, and add this idea of two energies, my energy and the energy of the object. Rather than just using my whole arm, I’m trying to just isolate it down to my hands. Yeah, very good! Look at that, very nice, yeah!
So we could, after we’ve practiced this for a while, we could think about like a tug of war, where it’s you versus me, and the object, it’s a shared object. Go ahead, pull me, I’m going to pull you, yeah? So we’re calling it a tug of war, but actually, it’s completely a collaboration, we’re completely watching each other. But then, you have an object and two actors and you can write a story based on that.
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