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Your Own Voice

Gregg Goldston in “Here Again”

 


Same as other art forms, there are philosophical perspectives in mime, which may sound not so practical first, but are extremely important to understand. However, those are often impossible to teach in a class for they should be introduced more delicately according to each student’s personality and readiness for it.


I, as one of Gregg’s students, always saw huge differences between what I learned in private coaching and regular classes. I admit that most important things I have learned came from his private coaching. If the teachers treat students as a large group, we can hardly dig in layers of delicious secrets hidden in this art form. That was also a strong reason for me to create this Blog, so that I can at least write about them.


Today, I would like to share one of my episodes from Gregg’s private sessions you might enjoy.


One day, over a decade ago, I went to Gregg’s studio for our weekly private session. (Often we worked over 10 hours.)  As soon as I entered the studio, he said, “Today we will have an art class.” There was a piece of paper and a black pen on the floor waiting for me.


He drew a human figure (simplified figure like an icon) and told me to draw exactly the same figure next to it. I drew one, carefully enough so that the figure was almost a clone of the original. I was proud and showed it to him like a little kid. He told me to draw many more next to them. So I did. After I finished drawing enough same figures, he looked at me and said seriously “Oh, that’s why you are… Don’t copy my figure and draw differently.”


I never forget the uncomfortable feeling I had in that session. I was told to draw those figures that way, and then heard that I should not have followed that direction. It took some time for me to realize that “he was training my intuition – my own voice.”


How much do I depend on that voice now as a performer and a teacher? … enormously.


I tell you this story to show how personally he was planning the strange session just for me, and expanding my potentials by presenting what “I” needed to hear, first expect, confusedly think, and finally realize at “that particular phase of my training”. 


If I did not need to actually draw the figures “many times” (which sounds wasting, doesn’t it?) before I learned that lesson, I did not feel the “needed” disappointment afterwards. Concept is easy. Experience takes fruitless looking time, and that time you take to reach the realization really teaches you lifetime.


I have a six year old son. He likes to wait on top of a slide in a park and make everyone behind him wait forever, until he really wants to “Go”. It seems like a cheep power game and most mothers would say “Go go go! Your friends are waiting behind you!” 


Of course I sometimes feel urged to say that too, but I intentionally ignore the pressure on me and wait for his own voice to say “Go!” He still has his own voice and knows his own power to hold people’s attention on him. If you really try doing what he was doing on the slide, you will understand that it is exactly the same power we hold and project on stage. I never want him to lose it. Gregg taught me “that” many years after I lost it. 


Breaking and changing the rhythm in performance, holding a thought extremely long, “The Forever Takes” to keep the tension between you and your audience alive, etc. etc…  


Many technical challenges in mime performance depend on your ability to listen to “your own voice”, and often it requires a strong boldness to recognize that inner voice.

Please join our international mime community by sending us an email at 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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