A Mime is a Terrible Thing to Waste
For my 7th grade career day, we were supposed to volunteer our parents to come and speak to the class. I raised my hand and offered that my dad was a mime and was willing to give a talk. The kid sitting in front of me turned around and said, “You’re dad’s a mime? That means he can’t talk.” I tried to explain that I used the term loosely. “He’s not what you think of when you hear the word mime. He’s a talking mime. He does physical theatre and rides a unicycle.” The kid was pretty insistent. “No. Mime means he can’t talk. How’s he going to talk to the class if he can’t speak?”
Today, I still have a hard time explaining to people exactly what my father does for a living––even to people who know the difference between a mime and a mute. If I say he’s a mime, people think that he wears lots of makeup up and silently gets stuck in boxes. If I say he’s a clown, people think of the man in a bad wig who scared the kids at their fourth birthday. Think of a fusion between Charlie Chaplin, Marcel Marceau, and Commedia dell’Arte. Throw in some juggling and unicycling for good measure and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what my dad does.
I won’t lie to you. There are perks to growing up in a house with a father who is a physical theatre artist and mask maker. I may be guilty of making my dad play theatre games with my friends at my 5th birthday party. (Statues, anyone?) I could juggle and ride a unicycle by the time I was in middle school. And getting paid by the hour to paper maché is probably one of the best jobs you can get when you’re twelve. Not to mention the many cool places I’ve been because I got to tag along on a road trip. And on a larger scale, I’d like to think that my dad has a lot to do with shaping who I am as an artist. He taught me what it means to show compassion through theatre and introduced me to the idea that social justice and art are not mutually exclusive. He is incredibly inventive and showed me what it means to creatively solve problems. I’m completely biased, but I think he’s a pretty amazing artist and performer.
And...it just so happens he’s doing a workshop for Halcyon Theatre on May 12. All proceeds go directly to Halcyon, so you’ll be supporting a good cause. See details here. If you’ve been dying to perfect a monkey impression or ride a non-existent escalator, this is the place for you. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to physically develop character, learn the dynamics of working with masks, or explore new ways to tell a story, check out the workshop.