Last year for Halloween I was Bip the Clown, a famous creation of the then recently passed master of mime, Marcel Marceau
. I thought it would be good to go an entire day without talking, yet it seemed to arouse violent annoyance in as many people as liked it.
I think it made me realize that I like mime, especially when it's darker and scarier... as in the mimetic acting of German Expressionist silent film... as well as comedians like Buster Keaton, Harry Langdon, Harold Lloyd
and Charlie Chaplin,
who were all essentially mimes. And, come to think of it, so was Cesar the somnambulist in Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
... whom I was for Halloween a while ago, come to think of it.
Mime has its roots in ancient Greece but most conventions of modern mime were developed by the Bohemian mime, Jean-Gaspard Deburau
, who adapted aspects of the commedia dell'arte for nineteenth century French actors. His most famous character was Pierrot, the moonstruck, dumb romantic in white face and poofy threads. He was portrayed in Marcel Carné
's Les Enfants du Paradis
In the 1920s, Étienne Decroux
created a highly original take on mime, focusing on statuary poses, a technique known as corporeal mime.