Mime as an actor training technique: A professional problem
Davis, Debora Fay
MetadataShow full item record
In the area of actor training, young actors rarely receive carefully concentrated emphasis on the physical aspects of their acting curriculum. Many young actors receive little or no movement training at all. Most actor training is concentrated in the areas of "Method" acting, with an emphasis on the psychological scope of acting. Movement classes usually take the form of "styles" classes which develop limited movement skills utilized in particular periods and/or genres. Dance classes are often required to help actors in the areas of jazz, ballet, tap, and modern dancing to facilitate actors cast in musical productions. The area of actor training that is most commonly overlooked is the overall cultivation of bodily expression and control. Such an awareness of the method of communication through the body is addressed and developed by training in the discipline known as mime. This study was executed in a four-month class taught at Texas Tech University. The class provided seven students with basic mime skills aimed at enhancing their own personal acting skills through very disciplined and highly technical instruction. The class culminated in an interdisciplinary performance combining music, art, and mime. The goals of this study were to: (1) develop awareness of self through refined physicalization, (2) sharpen the ability to express ideas through movement, (3) cultivate better silent communication on stage, (4) increase confidence through better physical flexibility and the ability to adapt to different physical styles, and (5) help the actor to be more creative in the physical nuances involved in the creation of a character. This study provided already consummate actors with a basis for further exploration in the area of corporal discipline and flexibility. This area of work expanded their current skills and abilities to allow them to develop fully realized characterizations from the standpoint of both the "physical" and the "mental," and all the subtleties inherent in both. The class was successful in all of its objectives, and the performances displayed this success for an audience to see the development of the individuals involved.