Body Talk – Basic Mime

D. Donovan – Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Body Talk – Basic Mime covers the basics of mime in a workbook format that can easily be accessed by professionals and drama students interested in learning more about body movement and language. It should be required reading for any theater participant looking to incorporate elements of mime into their routines.

Body Talk – Basic Mime assumes no prior knowledge and covers the basics of silent communication and movement’s messages, opening with a quick survey of the history of mime and moving quickly to exercises and demonstrations of movements that translate easily to recognizable emotions.

Large-size black and white photos give visual embellishment to written descriptions which offer specific insights into how a mime can better feel their body’s movements, as in the section devoted to eyebrows: “Put your index over the eyebrow, then lift your eyebrow high enough to feel the movement with your finger. Do not use your finger to push. Only your eyebrow muscles are working.”

From warm-ups to examples of the flow of movements (such as the step-by-step demonstration of the ‘spider’), specific exercises are followed by tips on studying the world to reinforce realistic, recognizable gestures: “Public areas are good for mime studies. Just sit somewhere, in a park or a shopping mall, and observe people around you. Look at their hands, how they move, and follow the words they say, or the emotions they show or hide. Hands can tell many things about who you are. On stage they become a very important part of you.”

From discussions of visual effects gained from amplifying an illusion or fixing a point to translating body movements to convincing an audience of silent intentions, there is no more specific primer on mime than Body Talk – Basic Mime.

Its workbook exercises make for a highly recommended ‘must’ for any theater or drama reference collection and for producers and actors who want to translate mime’s basics to better acting and cognitive results.