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Pantomime. P antomime. Pantomime is acting without words by using facial expressions and gestures, expressive movements of the body or limbs. The term is used to cover several different types of movement

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  • Pantomime is acting without words by using facial expressions and gestures, expressive movements of the body or limbs. The term is used to cover several different types of movement

  • For successful stage pantomime you need to use your facial expressions and body movements to communicate your reactions-physical and emotional-to characters, events, objects, and environments

Pantomime Continued

  • Pantomime is often called the art of silence.

  • The art of pantomime is basic to your training as an actor, because a character is portrayed through gestures, facial expressions, and movement- the first things an audience notices.

  • Pantomime goes hand in hand with dance and was the forerunner of classical ballet

  • Pantomime was the first form of acting.

Pantomime Principles

  • The techniques of pantomime are based on what human beings do physically in response to emotional stimulation, other people, and the objects around them.

  • No sound is used

  • There are two phases

    • Relax your muscles and free your body for quick expression of feeling

    • Creation of characterizations in which feeling prompts a bodily response


  • The modern tradition of mime, based on the technique of pantomime, is an abstract art form employing exaggerated conventionalized gestures to express ideas rather than to represent actions.

  • The formal art of mime emerged in the early 1800s, when Jean-BaptisteGaspardDeburau began the process of refining the Commedia Dell’Arteslapstick style of pantomime.

Mime Continued

  • Today’s most famous mime, Marcel Marceau, was inspired by the great silent film comedians Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

  • He developed a character called Bip.

  • Because of Marceau, the art of mime has become more popular.

  • Marceau has stated that he feels mime has become popular because it has no language barriers and because it’s so simple that it can be performed anywhere

Mime Principles

  • Mimes never use words

    • Though some employ sounds

  • They generally wear whiteface makeup

    • White foundation with accentuated eyes and mouth

  • They also wear eccentric clothing and work on a bare stage with few props

  • Mimes work from just five basic facial expressions

    • Happy, sad, surprised, angry, and afraid

Pantomime vs. Mime


    • The action conveys only action; for example, flying a kite

    • The artist works with imaginary objects

    • No sounds are used

    • All pantomimes are based on reality

    • The main goal is the exact pantomime of a specific action

  • MIME

    • The action conveys the theme; for example, snagging a kite on a tree after struggling to get it soaring in the sky might be a mime’s way of saying “our aspirations often become entangled with the things of this world.”

    • The artist works with imaginary objects by may also use part or all of the body to become an object or express an idea

    • Nonverbal sounds, such as escaping air, a telephone busy signal, or the screech of tires may be used.

    • Mimes go beyond reality; they are not limited to the real world

    • The main goal is the expression of an idea; themes can often be expressed in simple terms: loneliness, young dreams, or forgiveness