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Where Do You Look? Secrets for Performing Artists in all Stage Arts.

Marcel Marceau 

Photo by Gregg Goldston

Do you know “where” you should look when you project a strong thought on stage? Especially in a mime play, it being wordless, showing the thoughts is the core of how we convey the story. If those are not clear to your audience, the story becomes unclear to them.


In performance: character thinks, then character feels.  If you said this in words, it would translate to this:  “I think this will make me sad.”  This seems elementary because it is so logical when you read it here; but we have found that few performers are aware of the difference between thought (wish, doubt) and emotion (believe) and how to deliver them in a phrase. 

In my previous post titled “How To Show Thoughts On Stage”, I explained the structure of an “Attitude Phrase” to deliver each thought in proper order to make a thought process visibly clear.

Here is the link if you have not read it:
http://gmi4mimesupport.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-show-thoughts-on-stage.html

This also applies to other art forms. Even if you can speak the lines or sing the lyrics fluently, your eyes can still confuse your audience if those are used ineffectively.  Once you learn the method of how to deliver your thoughts and where to project them from eyes on stage, those two eyes will become the most powerful tools you can use to touch your audience. So we, as mime artists, study not only the delivery of each thought but also the projection (direction) of thoughts using exercises of eyes and face as well as the whole body.

I think most dancers can improve acting by learning the technique I am describing here. Dance techniques in general have much farther developed than acting in dance, as figure skaters’ jumps keep breaking the record while most of them have lost acting moments, which were put aside long ago and there is no more space to put it back in… This is what I learned when I was coaching a young talented figure skater who wanted mime technique for that reason. 

But are you only looking for record breaking techniques? Don’t we secretly look for warm human thoughts and acting moments while we wait for their next jump or spin? 

Learning where to look and how to look on stage will add an infinite value to your stage presence called “charisma” you might have been searching for.

Here is an example, illustrating where the difficulty is of how to play a stage scene:

Imagine, you are in a scene walking on the stage and just about to find a thing (visible or invisible) on stage. It is a dead person, for example.  

Beat 1) “Hey…” (you see the body)

Then, where do you actually face and project your thought next moment (on Beat 2) right after that event? 

Beat 2) “…what the…”

Are you still looking at that dead body saying that line internally? 

Or do you give that emotional glance to another performer on stage?

Or do you look into eyes of a spectator sitting in the front row? or the balcony? 

We advise you not to do any of the above. Because you have a better and safer way to do it.

The most effective and safest area for this “Look Away” we call, is facing theproscenium wall straight ahead of you, at a height slightly above your eyes.

*This can be adjusted based on the theater structure.*

And right there, expand (open) the muscles behind your eyeballs and broaden the eye focus to not see any particular thing in the theater, and look far away as if you are seeing a wildfire in front of you. 

That’s where you can share your thoughts most effectively with everyone in the theater. The combination of this particular direction of thought projection and powerful farsighted eye focus enables your audience to feel you as a universal character, thus, helps them feel “included” in your scene. I will write about how to control your eye focus at another time.

We call this “The Look Away” because we look away from the thing (event) and project a clear reaction to the event towards the audience, like a camera in a film approaching to an actor’s face to capture emotional moments. We control the camera work by adjusting the angles of our face (easy to feel it if you think of where your chin is) in a very precise speed variation. 

This feels extremely unnatural first for a human to learn, but it is the most natural and powerful look for the audience. 

Gregg Goldston in “Phantom 309”

Gregg looking at the audience the the final curtain call

The two photos above are great examples to see the difference between the Look Away to share inner thoughts (above) and looking at the audience (below). 

I hope you enjoy reading these posts on technical topics. We are accepting any personal requests or questions to be discussed in our blog or video series. Please send us your thoughts at gmi.mime@gmail.com

For more information about The Goldston Moriyama Institute for Mime, our Summer Institute in Italy, and our Personal Mime Training Programs in New York City, visit our website at: http://www.goldmime.com/goldston_moriyama_institute.htm

Or contact: goldmime@aol.com and gmi.mime@gmail.com 

Haruka Moriyama, 
The GMI

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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.

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