Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Now, that's the Marceau." - Pushing Shape to Reach into Space.

"Now, that's The Marceau!" is one of those sayings my students hear me say often.  Someone will create a pose that reaches far beyond the studio we are working in, and that's what we see;
Marceau's unique combination of counterpoints, contra-direction rotations and pulling one part of an arm one direction while pushing the wrist another.

Like a science, you know it's a truth when you see it, even if you don't understand why.

When Etienne Decroux was first inventing mime, the newspapers wrote: "Decroux has created: The Art of Counter-Weight."  I knew that was true when it came to creating an illusion, because to show something heavy, your body had to make another part "compensate" for the weight.  

However, I later learned...that "Mime" is always: 
Counter - "Something!Counter-Weight. Counter-Direction. Counter-Thought. Counter-Clock.

This is what makes this art so unique and so unlike anything else.

When it comes to how we stand and move in space we are always using a coiling system based upon unique science of counter-direction.  (Contra-Point) Look closely at how Marceau is using this system of "Counter-Direction" pulls and pushes, and rotations combined with he risking of balance points.


"The Hands"


Don't Miss the Most Important effect that he is creating.

Look at the "stage space" around him.

"The Lion Tamer"

Look at each photo I've posted for a few minutes...Look at how he is filling the stage. 
All the air around him is bright, and he looks as large as the stage he is standing on. 

I didn't crop these shots so you could look at the stage space around him.
(I took them from the back of the balcony in 2003.)

"The Lion Tamer"

Note that on some photos I've put Red Circles on his throw show the part of his body where the gesture initiates from.

 Below is almost the same pose from the same play, but from different angles.  In the first photo, you can barely see he is leaning backward as you can see in the second photo. 

"The Hands"

"The Hands"

As you can see, there is so much we can gain from this information, so I will continue to write more about this area of mime.

Written by Gregg Goldston
Photos taken by Gregg Goldston & Coiling Lines drawn by Gregg Goldston

For more information about The Goldston Moriyama Institute for Mime, our Personal Mime Training Programs in New York City, or our Summer Mime Intensives, please contact us at the links listed below.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

How To Train and Enrich "Off the Clock" Quality

Albert Einstein once said that:

"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.  I often think in music.  I live my daydreams in music.  I see my life in terms of music."

To reach our own creative potentials, we would do well to live by his example.  Intuition and music mix very well.  It is not a crazy idea for us to become Einstein on stage and follow our intuitive voice sent directly from our right brain.

"The only real valuable thing is intuition."  -- Albert Einstein

Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein

Today, I want to emphasize our method of practicing this new way of working.  We actually do most of the work while “off-stage,” throughout the day, not just while rehearsing.  All of our students can tell you their personal stories of how this method affected their work, so trust it and try it.  Soon you’ll feel a whole new world of rhythms surround you as you perform.

1.  On your iPod or any MP3 player, create a playlist of various songs that are not familiar to your ear, preferably the ones that keep changing the rhythms and intensity of the notes.  Look for different qualities of instrumental sounds and voices.  Please refer to my previous post for how to select your songs.  

If you would like to receive a list of songs we provide our students with, please send us your request via email at

2.  Listen to the playlist on a daily basis directly from your headphones (earphones).  Keep listening to the playlist until you memorize most phrases of the songs without studying them.  In other words, let your subconscious mind do the work itself, instead of your mind feeling the pressure to memorize them.

I said from your headphones not from your external speakers system.  Because we tested it and the effect from the speaker was less than a half of what you get from your headphones directly.  Headphones are closer to your brain, and it also eliminates all the auditory distractions from the world.  You will probably notice that when your sounds are coming from the headphones, the visual images around you start blending into your music more subjectively than that from a speaker.  

3.  Then go wherever you would like to.  Your studio, the park, in the street, in the subway train, your kitchen, the laundry room, a tennis court, you name it.  Now, whimsically sing various activities and thoughts as visual music.  Forget about objective eyes on you, how you look, who you are, or even your serious purpose of doing this.  Headphones help on this as well.  Try to be as animated as you can.

Here is a list of images you can use for your own training.
Combine these activities and thoughts with various instrumental sounds and voices coming from your headphones.

  • Walk as a drums solo.
  • Sit down as a long keen violin phrase.
  • Think "Yes" as the thickness of a bass sound.
  • Think "No, no..." as a soft voice.
  • Think "Maybe" as a horn phrase.
  • Think "What? Don't know" as a guitar phrase.
  • Get excited as a vibraphone phrase.
  • Sigh like a Bossa Nova singer.
  • Tease as an accordion phrase.
  • Shake off as African drums.
(Continue combining the activities/thoughts with texture of sounds.)
  • Pick up as ...
  • Open as ...
  • Tie as ...
  • Throw and catch as ...
  • Blow as ...
  • Pinch as ...
  • Squeeze as ...
  • Tap as ...
  • Drag and stop as ...
  • Break as ...
  • Pour and drink as ...
  • Crash and react as ...
  • Slice as ...
  • Blink as ...
  • Pay as ...
  • Hesitate as ...
  • Glide and land as ...
  • Fall as ...
  • Wander as ...
  • Bump as ...
  • Laugh as ...
  • Cry as ...
  • Shrug as ...
  • Spray and wipe as ...
  • Carry and drop as ...
  • Play an instrument as ...

Believe or not musicians naturally do this when they play their instruments.  What I mean is that they immerse themselves into the musical vibe first, then to some degree they become the music with their whole body and thoughts.  You can look around and see how their thoughts (facial expressions) and tension of their bodies are matching their sounds especially when they groove in a jazz session.

We, the mime artists, can exploit these dimensions of visual music and expand the quality of "Off the Clock" by fully applying that intuitive Einstein attitude towards our physical activities and showing thoughts.

Remember to keep the visual music always alive by changing the rhythms and reflecting the quality of sounds you hear from your headphones.  Those will gradually be stored deep in your DNA and someday will come out naturally without playing it from your headphones or speakers.  If you catch yourself having too much fun, that is the point and you are on the right track!

Here is what a friend of mine stated as her impression of mime and music.

"The relation between mime and music seemed much more intimate than that between ballet and music.  If ballet and music make a suspension, mime and music make a solution.  Music itself became the story and took it to a different dimension."

Your brain can stretch its potentials to like and create new kinds of music.  It is similar to stretching your body muscles when they feel tight and awkward, but eventually your body will like being stretched.

Written by Haruka Moriyama, 
 with additional writings by Gregg Goldston

For more information about The Goldston Moriyama Institute for Mime, our Personal Mime Training Programs in New York City, or our Summer Mime Intensives, please contact us at the links listed below.