After experiencing how well deaf people could act, it has long been a dream to get a Mime Training Program for the Deaf up and running. We called this program Elixir, named after a magical substance which heals wounds, gives life, and creates wealth from something common. This is what our story telling through mime hopes to do both physically and psychologically.
“Much silence has a mighty noise.” --A Swahili saying
The workshop consists of 25 hours of instruction, video clips from famous mime artists, mime methodology, discussions, storytelling techniques, games and activities to enhance mime acting skills, as well as performing and learning how to critique performances constructively.
Response by participants has been tremendous. In my many years of teaching drama I have never experienced a more enthusiastic group. They are very fast learners, who immediately put into practice what they learn.
To give you a feel of the excitement they have, here are some of their comments:
“Mime is an area that deaf people can shine in and do even better than hearing people. It is a good way to learn to express ourselves.”
“We learned about the story telling sequence of conflict, crisis, climax, and resolution and the cycle of the Hero’s Journey. This will help us tremendously in the creation phase of our performances.”
“We saw performances similar to what we have done but enacted in a different way. It made us want to start modifying our existing presentations to make them more effective and powerful. By watching various techniques, we got ideas how to adapt these techniques to our performances.”
“I learned how important facial expressions, communication with my team, and concentration are.”
“We learned many new techniques that can expand our skill such as making masks, face painting, and using and creating props effectively.”
“Mime finds new ways to communicate ancient truths.
It centers around universal situations of war, peace, love, and more.”
Perhaps the most rewarding part of the workshop is at the end when all of the participants form groups and each team creates a mime story and performs it, putting into practice all that they had learned.
Assignments are given to participants for the following 6 months after the workshop.
The first assignment is to put together a one hour show and begin performing this program at various venues. In 6 months we again evaluate their progress and they attend a follow-up workshop to concentrate on what still needs to be improved.
An idea we are developing with deaf organizations is to train the best mime artists to be teachers, in order to bring this program to other deaf schools throughout India.
It is our goal to pour out this magic of storytelling through our Elixir program - to bring a healing of hearts and minds to those who need it most.
“The student of mime must have an ideal
within his heart he strives for.”