The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mime purists flock to Poland's week-long 13th Inernational Mime Art Festival
Ukraine's Quartet De.Kru perform at the 13th Inernational Mime Art Festival in Warsaw, Poland on August 29, 2013. The week-long international showcase in Warsaw, whose 13th edition ends Saturday, "is the only festival that really does mime," said veteran German performer Alexander Neander. AFP PHOTO/JANEK SKARZYNSKI.

By: Anna Maria Jakubek

WARSAW (AFP).- To speak or not to speak is not the question at Poland's annual mime festival, which takes a purist stance on an art form ever evolving from the heyday of the legendary Marcel Marceau.

The week-long international showcase in Warsaw, whose 13th edition ends Saturday, "is the only festival that really does mime," said veteran German performer Alexander Neander.

Circus arts, acrobatics, puppetry and even minimal text feature in Europe's other big mime festivals, like the long-running ones in London and Perigueux, France.

"Theatre productions are increasingly moving away from 'pure pantomime' and becoming enriched with elements of dance, visual theatre, sometimes verbal elements," Polish theatre sociologist Emilia Zimnica-Kuziola told AFP.

Neander, 43, and the director of Warsaw's International Mime Art Festival, 36-year-old Bartlomiej Ostapczuk, were both trained by Marceau, the late French master of the "art of silence" -- as he called it -- whose white face, striped pullover and expressive genius as the character "Bip" made him the world's most famous mime in the 1960s.

But Poland's own tradition owes much to the late choreographer and director Henryk Tomaszewski, a Marceau contemporary who founded the Polish school of group mime .

He was paid special homage at the opening of this year's show, which included troupes from the Czech Republic, France, Germany and the Ukraine as well as Poland.

The acts ranged from the straightforward -- mimes pretending to climb stairs, play the piano -- to the more abstract, with dance-like gestures. Ostapczuk approves innovations, provided nothing overshadows the craft.

Mime is about "refining a scene little by little to what's essential, so: what is really important here? what really conveys emotion? what offers clarity?" said 44-year-old German performer Wolfram von Bodecker.

Ever the mime, Ostapczuk's family and friends say his gestures are as "clean" offstage as on.

"They say, 'when you pick up a spoon of sugar' " to put in coffee - here he pantomimes the act - " 'you're not doing 10 other things at once. You're not shuffling your feet, you're not looking around, you're not scratching your head. You're just lifting a spoon of sugar and letting it pour.' "

A stickler about silence, Ostapczuk insisted on talking to AFP in person and not on the phone, "or at the very least on Skype. Otherwise "you wouldn't see all this!", he said, laughing and gesturing wildly with one hand while pretending to talk on the phone with the other.

French stage director Lionel Menard, 45, who also worked with Marceau, said his mentor "fought for the mime to not talk, for the work to be built around silence.

"For those who were close to him, who had the chance to meet him, it's good to hand down the tradition, to try to continue the same battle," said Menard, who directed two performances at the Warsaw festival.

Marceau is credited with single-handedly reviving the art of mime -- which dates back to ancient Greece and comes from the Greek word "mimos" or "imitator" -- after World War II.

"He developed a particular style, and it became the art form itself," said Joseph Seelig, co-director of the London International Mime Festival since 1977, in a telephone interview from London.

"Even me, a Marceau alum, occasionally in my productions I'll say, 'Go ahead! talk! It will evoke something, it could be interesting'," said Menard.

"But they don't want to. Et voila."

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

August 31, 2013

From Cairo to London: 25 life-size painted donkeys arrive at St Paul's from Egypt

Artist David Hockney's 23-year-old aide Dominic Elliott died through misadventure: inquest

'Walk-in vagina' by South African artist Reshma Chhiba kindles anger, approval in S.Africa

Christie's to offer private collection of the complete editions from the first 50 volumes published by Parkett

Exhibition at Bruce Museum in Greenwich features more than forty original fine art prints

Star architect Renzo Piano and conductor Claudio Abbado named Italian senators

The Opulent Eye: 19th century decorative arts at Christie's London in September

700+ designer jewelry, handbags and luxury items dazzle at Heritage Auctions

Precious objects from all eras offered this autumn at Hermann Historica auction

A £350,000 grant to Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum helps save the personal archive of Rex Whistler

Christie's announces the Sale of Fine Chinese Paintings in fall Asian Art Week

UNESCO World Heritage site Pianza: Renaissance 'ideal city' inspires anew in Tuscany

Mime purists flock to Poland's week-long 13th Inernational Mime Art Festival

Alt_Cph: Copenhagen's alternative art fair opens

"Unknown Forces: Gestures Beyond Surfaces" opens at Tophane-i Amire Culture and Arts Center

Sydney artists Jess Olivieri and Hayley Forward win John Fries Memorial Prize

Art Gallery of South Australia announces proposal for Royal Adelaide Hospital site

Daisy Outdoor Products gift to Crystal Bridges creates a unique way to secure sculptures

Painter and entertainer Rolf Harris charged with sex assaults in UK

'David Levinthal: War Games' at the Corcoran Gallery of Art extended to October 27

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New light shines on Sandro Botticelli masterpieces at Florence's Uffizi Gallery

2.- Cincinnati Art Museum's Van Gogh exhibition brings guests Into the Undergrowth

3.- Degas retrospective debuts in the U.S. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

4.- Special exhibition features large-scale photography by Richard Mosse & Edward Burtynsky

5.- Nobel panel gives up knockin' on Dylan's door

6.- An unprecedented, international-loan exhibition of works by Claude Monet is at the Kimbell Art Museum this fall

7.- Exhibition at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek explores Rousseau's landscapes

8.- Yoko Ono unveils her first permanent US art installation

9.- ArtReview's annual Power 100 names Hans Ulrich Obrist as the artworld's most powerful figure

10.- British artist David Hockney makes a splash at Frankfurt fair with 2,000-euro book

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful