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Week 2: Introduction to Mime

3 sessions/ One double and one single period.


















VELS Progression Points


  • "Awareness of ways expressive skills can be used to enhance drama and/or theatre works."

  • "Use of appropriate drama and theatre language when discussing the application of expressive skills, dramatic elements and stagecraft in drama and theatre works .

Session 1 and 2 (Double Period)


  • We're going to start our Unit on Mime by going through some floor exercises, so that we can free ourselves up to use our body and face.

Warm up:

(Page 44. "A practical Approach to Drama" By Tourelle and McNamara copywrite 1998, Hienmann Publishing, South Melbourne.) 

Use your body to silently recreate one of the following actions. Make it as real as possible. How exactly do you move your body? How do communicate through facial expression? Try to re-live the act of doing these things...and make it as real as you can!

  • Eating two different types of fruit.

  • Putting on a garment.

  • Recieving a present from someone and opening it!

  • Using something you could find in your house.

  • Use the same object but make it TWICE as large!!!

  • Show a little person (only 10 centimetres tall) around the room.

  • Become the "small person" looking at the room and being guided by YOU!



OK get out your notebooks and we're going to learn a few things about Mime. First of all, what is Mime? Are there different kinds of Mime? How can I do it on stage? Well, mime is really just the expert control of non-verbal expressive skills and a refined ability to communicate and create images in the audiences imagination . It's also quite fun to do. Here's a Mime troupe in the US and what they do....(this a video I show in class). (Northwestern Youtube Video)





















There are also many big stars who use mime in their comedy...using expressive skills without the aid dialogue for effect. Remember this guy?



















There are five "expressive skills" an actor uses in his craft. They are Movement, Gesture, Voice, Facial Expression and Stillness and Silence. Since in mime we don't deal with voice (though Mr. Bean does use his voice, briefly), I'd like to focus on the other four expressive skills now. 

















Watch the video again...this time note and specifically describe the movement, gesture, facial expression and use of stillness that Rowen Atkinson uses in Mr. Bean. It's important to observe also "what the movement meant". Did it tell you something mechanical (that he wanted to see something)? Did it tell you how he felt toward somebody? Did it tell you something about his character? 90% of ALL our communication is SILENT. It's important to know that we ALL are constantly sending out non verbal messages using our expressive skills. The mime artist and actor is in perfect control of these skills and uses them to create character and story. 


Quickly write down these definitions before we get on floor and act!


















Time To Act!!!!


Time to try a little mime ourselves. Remember mime and movement should be SLOW and DELIBERATE. Don't rush. Just use you memory of size and texure to imitate how you would act. Think of the expressive skills. How do you use them to SHOW an audience size and shape? How can you SILENTLY communicate that information?


Toss the Ball

  • Teacher starts to throw an imaginary ball around the circle. When a person catches it, the person can change the size, shape and weight of the "ball". The players must show this difference using their expressive skills.

  • The game ends when everyone gets the ball at least once.

  • Question: Who showed the dimensions of the ball the best? How did they communicate with their bodies?

  • Chocolate Oscar will be awarded for best "ball acting"! 


The Box

  • Class gathers in a circle, cross legged on the floor.

  • The teacher mimes a box, being careful to show the box's specific dimensions.

  • He reaches inside and must mime the use of the object they "find" in the box.

  • The rest of the circle must guess what object they are using.

  • Each person takes a turn with the box.

  • The key is creating deliberate and strong movements with your hands that show the dimension, size and shape of your object. Also use facial expression as you mime your action.


Performance Assignment #1: Mime an Action

Page 26-28/ "Basic Drama Projects: 8th Edition" by Fran Averett Tanner, Ph.D. copyright 2004; Perfection Learning






















In this assignment you will be concentrating on completing an action mime. You must complete this mime with a partner or if you wish to take advantage of the challenge...try it alone. You will each be graded on your attempt to mime a simple everyday activity. Some examples of activities used in the past include:


  • Eating a sandwich.

  • Going Fishing.

  • Preparing a meal.

  • Getting ready for school.

  • Cleaning your room.

  • Playing a sport.


Think of an Action:

  • Choose an activity that you have done in real life.

  • Make your selection quickly.


Outline each movement in the Action:


  • List the INDIVIDUAL MOVEMENTS in completing your action. 

  • There are 9 individual movements in miming drinking from a water glass, so keep your movements and actions simple.

  • List the movements in your Drama Journal under the heading "Mime Lesson #1".


Your grade  will depend on the folowing criteria:


  • Planning: Have you obviously planned and rehearsed each movement as noted in your workbook?

  • Technique: Were the actions slowly presented and easy to follow?

  • Use of Expressive Skills: How well did you use your expressive skills to communicate (Movement, Gesture, Stillness, Facial Expression.)


Here's a copy of the first Mime Assignment


You will have the rest of the lesson to rehearse and plan your mime assessment!
Lesson #3:

Warm Up:


  • Individuals and groups have 4 minutes to go through their Action Mime presentations one more time.

  • Each person must choose 1 fellow classmate and YOURSELF and rate each performance. Be honest but put downs!


Answer the following questions in your journal for yourself and one other classmate:


  • Was the mime well planned?

  • What important details did the actor include or leave out?

  • How did the actor make you believe in the dimensions of the imaginary objects used?

  • What did the actor do to make you believe that he or she was actually engaged in the action?


































Expressive Skill                                             Specifically describe the action                                      What did it mean?


Movement (full body)



Gesture (Use of Hands)



Facial Expression






The Three Types of Mime

Mime: The art of creating an image in your imagination and then using your body to re-create that image in the audience's imagination.


Action Mime: The miming of everyday activities.


Character Mime: Action mime that has a sense of the thoughts and feelings of the character.


Dramatic Mime: Mime in which a story or situation is projected.



A practical Approach to Drama" By Tourelle and McNamara copywrite 1998, Hienmann Publishing, South Melbourne


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