Mimicry is a type of performing art that dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, but is often associated with French culture. Mime is a type of silent art that requires mime to communicate through movement, gestures, and facial expressions. This has evolved over the years and is currently made up of various techniques. To learn to mimic, you will need to know the basic movements, practice the more advanced ones, and dress as a mime in order to act effectively.
Part 1 of 3: Learn the Basic Movements
Step 1. Express yourself through your body
This is one of the most important first things you should learn about miming. You will not have to speak or pronounce words during the mime. Instead, you will use facial expressions, gestures, and postures to communicate.
For example, raise your eyebrows and place your hands on your hips to show that you are upset
Step 2. Evaluate your facial expressions and postures in front of a mirror
Use a mirror to determine which movements are best for expressing emotions, attitudes, and reactions. Initially, you should practice facial expressions and simple movements and postures. You can use any posture you can think of; they will not yet have to mimic the movements. Beginners will need a full mirror, but keep in mind that you will need to stop using it when it's time to act.
A camcorder will be another valuable tool, if you have one
Step 3. Develop your imagination
It is necessary to emphasize the importance of the use of imagination when creating illusions. It is vital that the mime really treat the illusion as real. Obviously, the more real you consider the illusion, the greater the realism that the public perceives. This can be done through practice.
- For example, you can imagine a wall. See it in different colors. Feel it in different textures, such as rough, smooth, wet or dry. Use these same techniques when practicing all illusions.
- You will also notice that your body reacts naturally to the illusion if you convince yourself that it is real.
Step 4. Take advantage of a fixed point
This is commonly referred to as "pointe fixe", which is the same term, but in the French language. This is a simple idea: the mime will look for a point with its body and then it will keep it static in space. This technique is the basis of all the illusions that a mime can create.
For example, you can create a fixed point by holding one hand in front of you. Keep it in that position, but move your body
Step 5. Add lines to the fixed points
You can create the line around a fixed point by adding a second point in space. For example, place your other hand so that they are both in front of you. You can move the body or leave it static and move both hands. The "invisible wall" is a good example of the application of this concept.
The relative distance between the two points will be the definition of this "essential element"
Step 6. Create a dynamic line
Find a wall and place both hands on it, about shoulder height. Push the wall a little with your hands and, as you do so, identify the points on your body where pressure builds up. Obviously, you should feel pressure in your hands, but you should also feel some tension in your shoulders and hips.
- If you can't feel anything, increase the pressure a bit until you do.
- Try different positions and determine how they change the pressure in your body.
- This is the idea that applies to the act of "pulling the rope", but it can be used in almost any illusion that mimics the use of force.
Step 7. Manipulate space and matter
This is a sophisticated phrase used to refer to the act of "creating illusions out of thin air." This technique uses many of the elements involved in creating a fixed point, a line, and a dynamic line. This is best demonstrated with a sample illusion: the act of dribbling with a basketball. Shape the palm of your hand into a circular shape by shrinking your fingers a little. This shape will define the space in which the illusion will occur and will allow the basketball (the “matter”) to exist within it.
The manipulation of space and matter can be used to create various objects, characters or events by using this principle
Part 2 of 3: Practice Advanced Mimic Techniques
Step 1. Pretend you are in a box
If you are in an invisible box, you can touch the air in front of you with your hands (first with your palm and then with your fingers). Act like you're trying to find a way out of the invisible box; To do this, find the corners and sides of it. Run a hand around the "edges" of the imaginary box as if trying to find the lid and the exit.
If you wish, you can find the lid and open the box dramatically with both arms and a triumphant gesture
Step 2. Hold a string
Pretend there is a rope hanging in front of you and try to climb it. Glide and climb again for the best spin. Imagine and feel your entire body weight. Imagine that your muscles stretch and tense, and you grimace with your face. When you get to the top, wipe the sweat off your forehead.
If you've never climbed a real rope, do it under someone else's supervision in a gym with padded materials. Memorize your actions and reactions
Step 3. Climb a ladder
Hold onto the rungs of an imaginary ladder that leads upward. Place the ball of one foot on the ground as if you were placing it on a rung of the ladder. Go up the steps keeping both hands moving. Alternate your feet and hands each time you "climb" the ladder. Focus on the top, as if looking at the place you are climbing.
Step 4. Lean on something imaginary
Pretend that you are leaning against a lamp post, a wall, or a counter. It might sound easy to you, but it will take a lot of strength and coordination to lean on something imaginary. The basic posture comprises 2 parts:
- The upper part: Keep your arm slightly away from your body and the elbow bent so that the forearm is parallel to the floor and the hand is close to the torso. Now lift your shoulder as you move your chest towards your elbow (keeping it at the same point in space).
- The bottom: you will need to bend your knee a little at the same time and transfer the weight to the bent leg. The end effect should be to keep your elbow in position, but look as if you are supporting your weight in the imaginary place where it rests. Keep the other leg fully straight, as this will enhance the illusion.
- To more actively display this action, you can also trip, slip, and completely lose the object you've been leaning on.
Step 5. Fight the wind
Pretend there is a lot of wind and that you have a hard time staying in position. Let the wind move you from one side to the other. For an added fun effect, you may struggle with an umbrella that is constantly flipping over.
Step 6. Pretend you are eating
Pretend that you are eating a burger or hot dog that is heavily loaded with ingredients that are spilling onto your clothes. Use an imaginary napkin to clean up any spills. Accidentally splash some ketchup in your eye for a comedic effect. You can also try peeling a banana and then slipping off the peel.
Step 7. Make up a story
You can do a simple routine or create a story. If you create a story with your mimicry, you will capture the attention of the public and generate a true artistic repercussion in the art of mimicry. Come up with the “story” you would like to tell in advance. Keep in mind that miming can be very beautiful and moving if done properly.
This is an example of a story: It is a windy day (wind and umbrella mimicry) and you meet a friend whose cat is stuck in a tree. He asks you to climb a ladder to rescue his pet (ladder mimicry). When you return the cat (mimic of holding a struggling cat), your friend will treat you to a hamburger (mimic of spilled food)
Part 3 of 3: Dress up as a mime
Step 1. Put on a white foundation
Mimes can be identified immediately thanks to their characteristic makeup. They usually apply a white base on the face. Look for a "grease" or white paint, and apply it all over your face with a sponge or brush. When finished, the white makeup should hide your natural skin tone.
- White makeup should not get in your eyes.
- You could also paint small circles with light pink blush to add a happy or feminine touch to the mimicry.
Step 2. Add the dark makeup
Once you've applied the white foundation, you'll need to apply a thick layer of black eyeliner around your eyes. Then you will need to cover your natural eyebrows with black paint. You can also place stylized "tears" that reach the center of the cheekbones. Finish off with a black or deep red lipstick.
Keep in mind that you can modify the makeup according to your character and preference
Step 3. Wear the usual black and white striped mime outfit
Serious mimes may no longer wear the classic "outfit", but you can use it as a beginner. Look for a horizontal black and white striped shirt (ideally with a buttonhole neck and 3/4 sleeves). Wear dark pants, black suspenders, white wrist-length gloves, and a black bowler hat to complement your look. You can also wear a black or red beret.
- This outfit and makeup have been a tradition for many famous mimic artists, including the legendary Marcel Marceau.
- You don't have to dress this way. What's more, modern mimicry artists consider it somewhat hackneyed.
Step 4. Choose an outfit for your character
If you want to create a character, you will need to adopt a distinctive tone with your clothing, makeup, and lighting. For example, you may want to highlight the plight of the homeless who sleep on cold streets in winter. Paint a sad face, wear ragged clothes, and use dim lighting.
Carefully conceive a story that allows you to imitate the desperate walk of the helpless person seeking shelter for the night
- If you are very interested in a career in mime, you can enroll in a course from a performing arts school or group.
- Now many mimes refer to their performance as "physical theater", in order to avoid the social stigma that mimicry often inspires today. Most of these artists do not wear the traditional costumes or makeup of mimes.
- Skillful mimes are in high demand in fields such as theater, film, and circus.
- The best-known mimes have played brave but ridiculous characters. Among these we have Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin, who played Bip and Charlot, respectively.
- Penn and Teller, David Shiner, Geoff Hoyle, and John Gilkey are great examples of aspiring mimes and clowns.
- To avoid injury from stretching, you should always warm up before doing mimicry exercises. Mimicry requires the same agility as dancing or acting.
- Never perform in a public place without having a friend or representative nearby to supervise the performance, as they will protect you from annoying spectators and a rowdy audience.