Sample essay topic, essay writing: Pantomime - 1023 words

This paper is about pantomime, about it'sorigin, it's people, how it has evolved, and how wonderfulit is. Pantomime is a dramatic performance in which a storyis told or a theme developed through expressive bodily orfacial movement. The origin of pantomime can be tracedback to classical farce and the Italian Commedia Dell'arte. Not all pantomime is silent. The completely silentperformance of pantomime was invented in Rome. Pantomime is sometimes used to worship. Mime is a shortway of saying pantomime and also means someone whoperforms pantomime. A mime, if performing on the streets, will have a hat that is passed around for spectators to putmoney in.

When doing pantomime, it should be noted thatthe imaginative performance skills are illusion andillustration. Also, you should "cultivate an understanding ofthe role that the body plays in suggesting an idea, animpression, a sensation, or a character." Pantomime can bedone solo, or in a group of any size. Before performing, amime must do warm-up and relaxation exercises. Mimingtakes mental and physical strength. Perfect coordination ofall parts of the body is essential for expressive movementand graceful poise in pantomime

A good mime must bevery flexible. You must be fluid at changing posture tocreate a character. Facial expression changes everythingwhile performing pantomime. You must be very relaxedwhen doing pantomime. People speak different languages, but most gestures mean the same thing.

Animals, insectsespecially, have probably done pantomime before humanswere even alive. For example, bees do pantomime whentelling others where nectar is, and peacocks use pantomimeto impress a mate. Prehistoric man was next, after animals, to do pantomime. Prehistoric men would do pantomime totry to influence nature to let them get a kill while hunting. Before language, prehistoric men told about a hunt withpantomime. Prehistoric men would use pantomime to tellthe history of the tribe.

A clown named Grock became avery successful mime. He started as an acrobatic clown ata very young age. Grock became famous because hesucceeded in the circus and in the music hall. After years ofsuccessfully performing in circuses, he tried his clownroutine in a theater in Berlin. Grock began to move awayfrom broad comedy in the Grimaldi tradition, and towardsDebureu's type of performance.

In his first performance ina theater, the audience did not respond. Grock realized thatthe type of performance required for the theater is differentthan that required by the circus. Grock began to use aclown as a pantomime character whose actions commenton life. Grock went on to become one of the greatestperformers of the variety stage. Grock used music toportray man's struggle with fate, just like Beethoven, but ina different way.

Before Grock would play violin, he wouldthrow the bow up in the air and try to catch it, but miss. Then he would retreat behind a screen to practice and theaudience could see the bow flying above the screen. Hereturned to face the audience and missed again. He becameso flustered that he threw the bow in the air and caught itwithout even knowing it! When Grock sat down on thepiano bench to play piano and found that it was too farfrom the piano, he would struggle to push the piano closerto the bench! Like all good comedy, this reflected man'sstruggle to tame nature. The circus was saved from toomuch clown tradition in the 1940's by a man namedEmmett Kelly. The costumes were getting too elaborate. The usual clown costume descended from the vari-coloredcostume of the Roman mimes.

Originally, it was intended tosymbolize rags, like the clown was an impractical guy whodidn't get along in the real world. A long evolutionaryprocess ended up with vari-colored, but elaboratecostumes. The costumes reached some sort of peak whenthe Harlequin costumes of the English pantomime had asmany as fifty-thousand sequins on them. Emmett Kellybrought back the original idea and wore a tramps costumeof actual rags. The usual clown make-up is a bright coloredpattern which serves as a trademark for each clown.

Kellywore make-up to match his raged costume. He invented hisown intimate style of pantomime in, but almost independentof, the circus. Kelly would beg peanuts from kids in theaudience and then break the shells with a huge hammer, completely! shattering the peanut, and then search stupidlyfor the meat among the debris. Clowns of the moderncircus are called "Joeys" after Joseph Grimaldi. In themodern American circus, there are many able clownsincluding Lou Jacobs, Paul Wenzel, Otto Griebling, PaulJung, and Freddie Freeman, but they are almostoverwhelmed by the sheer size of the circus.

Modern circusclowns depend on acrobats, costumes, and mechanicalstunts to perform, but a mime just has gestures. Thetechnique of the circus clown is limited by the conditionsunder which he performs, therefore, there is a tendency forany successful idea to be repeated so much that it becomesa tradition. Most of the clowning is done in what is called aclown promenade, or walkaround, in which the clownscircle the arena while performing so that each spectatormight see a complete performance. Each clown performssomething different. It is difficult to think of gags to performwhile walking in a parade.

One could carry a heart thatlights up like a neon sign when he sees a pretty girl, anothercould drive a really small sportscar, or one may wear atrick costume which enables him to change from an oldlady to a midget, and back again. One clown may run awayfrom a stuffed tiger that is attached to him by a thin wire. As you can probably see, pantomime has changed over theyears and there have been ups and downs during thechange. There were also some performers who saved, orplayed a big part in the history of pantomime. BibliographyCampbell, Patricia J. Passing The Hat: Street Performers inAmerica, New York City, Delacorte Press, 1952 Evans, Cheryl and Smith, Lucy Acting & Theater, Tulsa, EDCPublishing Hunt, Douglas and Kari, Pantomime: The SilentTheater, New York City, Atheneum, Kipnis, Claude, TheMime Book, New York City, Harper and Row publishers,1974 May, Robin, Looking at Theater, New York City, Marshal Cavendish Corporation, 1989 "Mime andPantomime" Academic American Encyclopedia, 1982 ed.,vol. M-13, p.

434 Mordden, Ethan, The FiresideCompanion to Theater, New York City, Simon andSchuster Inc., 1988 Ratliff, Gerald Lee, The TheaterStudent: Speech and Drama Club Activities, New YorkCity, Richards Rosen Press, Inc., 1982 Stolzenberg, Mark, Exploring Mime, New York City, Sterling Publishing Co.,Inc., 1979.

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