Mime Artists Durban. Information and definitions via the web:
Start with basic mime actions. There are some fairly standard techniques that most mime artists begin with. These include manipulating imaginary objects (such as walls, balls, ropes, etc.), walking in place, climbing imaginary ladders, leaning, and so on.
Imaginary Objects & Use of the Imagination:
Using the imagination cannot be overemphasized in creating illusions. Most important is for a mime to truly believe the illusion is real. Naturally the more real the illusion is for the mime, the more realistic it will be for your audience.
This can be accomplished through practice. Practice all illusions in this same manner.
e.g. (in practicing a wall) Pretend the wall is real. See the wall in different colors. Feel the wall in different textures i.e. feel it rough, smooth, wet, dry, cold or hot.
Use these same techniques while practicing ALL illusions. You will also find your body reacting naturally to the illusion if you are convinced it's real. Consider what you might do and how you would react if interacting with the real thing.
Grab a rope. Pretend to have a rope dangling before you and attempt to climb it. Slide down and clamber back up for best effect. When you reach the top, wipe the perspiration off your brow. Climbing a rope is a very difficult illusion if done correctly. Imagine and feel your full body weight. If you are really climbing a rope, your muscles will stretch and strain. Your face will grimace in painful effort. Wiping sweat from your brow will be a natural reaction. If you have never climbed a real rope, do so with supervision in a padded gym. Make mental notes of your actions and reactions even though many illusions may not be done with the exact movements as used in reality, the mental attitude (a.k.a. imagination) should be the same as the real thing. (See first note below under "Warnings" and be sure to warm up before attempting this illusion.)
A ladder. To show climbing a ladder, grab at imaginary ladder rungs going up in the air. Place the ball of one foot on the ground, as you would put it on a ladder rung. Pull down on the rungs (keep the hands moving together!) as you go up on your toes, and then drop back down with the opposite foot now "on a rung." Alternate feet and hands each time you "climb." Keep your focus upwards, as though you were looking at the place to which you are climbing. (If it's a tall ladder, look downwards occasionally for comic effect - tilt your head slowly and carefully, just enough to look downwards, and then look forward quickly, with an expression of alarm!) Make your legs do the same movements as if your feet were clambering up a real ladder.
If you are in an invisible box, you can press the air out in front of you with your hands, first your palm and then your fingers. Act as if you are trying to find a way out of this invisible box by identifying its corners and sides. Run one hand across the "edges" of your imaginary box, as you try to find the lid and your way out. If you want, you can eventually find the lid and flip it open dramatically with both arms, in a triumphant gesture.
Pretend to be leaning against a lamp post, wall or a counter. It might sound easy but takes quite a lot of strength and coordination to "lean" on nothing. The basic lean has two parts. Start with the feet about shoulder-width apart.
For the top part: Hold your arm slightly away from your body, with the elbow bent so that your forearm is parallel to the ground and your hand (wrist relaxed slightly) is near your torso. Now raise your shoulder as you move your chest towards your elbow (keeping the elbow at the same point in space!).
The bottom part: at the same time, bend your knee slightly, taking your weight onto the bent leg. The net effect should be that your elbow stays where it is, but it looks as though your weight has settled onto the imaginary place where your elbow rests. Make sure you only bend the leg under your raised arm. Keep your opposite leg perfectly straight as this adds to the illusion.
Watch in a mirror, or use a video camera to see how effective the technique is. It's sometimes most effective to do this technique casually, with very little exaggeration at all.
For a more active show of leaning, the act can also incorporate stumbling, sliding off and missing the leaned-on object altogether.
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