Mime is critical to improv as improv does best. We have a blank stage to fill with objects and environment. We have actions to commit our bodies and attentions to. We have space between and around us that has weight, volume and density. We have all this…if we have mime. Continue reading
Mime: Weight, volume and tension are the key characteristics of a mimed object that help players and the audience “see” the object. If nothing else, be deliberate – your commitment to engaging the environment will enable the audience to accept any weird ass thing you do.
INVISIBLE TUG OF WAR – Everybody has a tug of war but the rope is invisible, the rules are that the rope must look real, can’t stretch or be elastic. Have a little miming moment: “Feel the rope” etc. We aren’t playing by actual tug of war rules; the point is to have a scene where we look like we are. We aren’t on opposing teams; we’re all on the same “doesn’t this look like a real tug of war?” team.
BUILD A ROOM – With everyone else watching from the audience, a player enters a room through a door (push in?, pull out?, doorknob height?, door weight?), creates one mimed object somewhere in the space, and then leaves through the door. A second player enters, interacts with the first player’s object, creates their own new object, and then leaves. A third player enters, interacts with the first player’s object, interacts with the second player’s object, creates their own new object, and then leaves. Etcetera.
• With practice, mime work becomes instinct – So practice. When you’re engaged in an everyday action (brushing teeth, doing dishes, etc.) be conscious of your movements and the objects’ characteristics. Then try to mime those activities without the objects.
• Really picture what you’re creating
• If something’s not clear to you, don’t avoid it, feel the responsibility to make it clearer for everyone else
DO WHAT YOU DO WHERE YOU DO IT – Have a player engage in a mimed activity they are very familiar with in a space imagined based on their actual house/work/etc. Players from the audience get to ask questions that the player has to respond to in mime (“what’s on TV?”/ “what’s in the corner?”/ “Is it dirty or clean?”).
• Leveraging your personal life will make being specific easy
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER APART – Three people up at a time and silently do an action for a couple minutes: Fix your space ship, save your favorite zoo animal, build an instrument from scratch, etc. The activities are mimed and there should be little to no interaction between the players – like they are in their own world, like a split screen.
• As long as you commit, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing – three players can all be doing very different things and those activities won’t be in conflict as long as the players don’t address the conflict. Don’t know how to fix a carburetor? Fake it with commitment and everyone will believe you do.