Making the Invisible Visible: Mime’s Contemporary Legacy


By Jeanine Thompson, Associate Professor
Symposium Date: April 11, 2014

As the founding fathers of contemporary mime, Étienne Decroux (1898-1991) and Marcel Marceau (1923-2007) have, through their apprentices, established a performative legacy with global resonances. As a new generation of practitioners emerges, we seek to interrogate, connect, critique, and celebrate the work of mime’s late twentieth century North American cohort. We aim to articulate mime’s history, to cultivate its legacy, and to imagine how contemporary artists might take mime into future practice, especially as they incorporate the potentials of motion capture and technological mediation.

To that end, The Ohio State University’s Department of Theatre and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) presented Making the Invisible Visible, a symposium celebrating mime and movement theatre on April 11th, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.

This symposium ran in conjunction with the world premiere of There Is No Silence, a movement theatre piece inspired by the life and work of Marcel Marceau, devised by graduate students and faculty from The Ohio State University. A concurrent exhibition on Marcel Marceau showcasing material from his archive at the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute and including lithographs of his paintings, artifacts from his North American tours, and materials from his residencies at Ohio State (including motion capture of his signature movements), was presented.

Symposium guests included: Keynote speaker, Annette Thornton, President of the Association of Theatre Movement Educators (ATME); Yanci Bukovec, Professor at University of Florida, toured internationally with Marcel Marceau; Dean Evans, Professional actor, mime and comedian working in Chicago and alum of Ohio State Theatre; Kevin Abbott, Professor at Western Michigan University, Theatre Digital Media Specialist; and Lorin Salm, professional mime and movement specialist working in the motion capture and film industry in Los Angeles.