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Mime – An Introduction

The Root of our beloved Charades: Mime

”          ¯\_(ツ)_/¯           “

Have you ever been wandering around the streets of a city and happened upon a street performer wearing interesting clothes, lots of white make-up, but not making a sound? If so, chances are you’ve met a mime! –And if you did happen to meet such an individual you were probably outside Pakistan because in my 17 years of short-lived life I have failed to ever spot a mime doing a mime in Pakistan.

(On a side note: It’s surely in my bucket list to find one and tease him/her though)

A Legendary Figure in the Mime History: Mr.Charlie Chaplin

I’m pretty sure all of us have heard the name “Charlie Chaplin” at some point throughout our busy lives. Early silent film stars, such as Charlie Chaplin are those who breathed life into the dry clay known as Mime. It was he who showed the world how beautiful and entertaining a thing such as mime can be; it was he who showed that there lays entertainment in only actions and no words; it was he who gave a whole new meaning to silent and black and white entertainment.

So what exactly is a mime? A Google Definition for it is a simple farcical drama including mimicry… but to state it more simply and clearly, mime is a form of silent art that involves acting or communicating using only movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Interesting to note is that a person performing mime is also called a mime (One word to define them all).

Only through actions and gestures can a mime talk.

Now, where exactly does mime have its roots from? Basically, non-verbal communication dates all the way back to the first human beings (Yes, it’s that old though it wasn’t referred to as mime back then). Before there was spoken language, gestures and facial expressions were used to communicate. As spoken language developed, these gestures and facial expressions were retained as a form of simple entertainment hence a language became a form of entertainment, a form of leisure, which we now call a mime.

One must wonder where exactly the term mime was coined or which country was the first one to bring it to its glory. Many people associate mime with French culture. However, mime is an ancient art that dates back to the early Greeks and Romans (as always). It was in France, though, where mime flourished. It became so popular that mime schools were established throughout France (which still exist), and a great tradition of French mimes soon followed.

Mime eventually led to the development of charades.

Coming back to the present, the modern mime can be divided into two main types: abstract and literal. Abstract mime usually does not feature the main character and has no plot. Instead, it focuses on provoking thought about a particular subject by expressing certain feelings or emotions.

Literal mime tells a story with a plot and characters. Often these stories are funny situations intended to elicit laughter from the audience. Some modern versions of mime also combine these two types into one interesting performance.

Each mime sequence has its own enjoyment and humour that you can watch yourself at YouTube!


Mime makes the invisible, visible and the visible, invisible ~ Marcel Marceau

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