In Defense of Mime After the death of legendary mime Marcel Marceau, video producer Win Rosenfeld became enchanted with the often ridiculed, very silent and very radio-unfriendly art of mime.

In Defense of Mime

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LUKE BURBANK, host:

And now, though, stepping into the studios with us is our Win Rosenfeld to talk to us about something that was a little unexpected for us this week.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Yeah. After Marcel Marceau passed away, the famous mime - Win is a video artist in his own. And he went to do a video piece about Marcel Marceau and ran into one of his former friends and colleagues. And this man was very poetic about mime and about his love of mime. Can you tell us a little bit more about him?

BURBANK: Well, yeah. You came into the meeting so jazzed up about mime.

WIN ROSENFELD: Well, you know, I just realized I didn't know anything mime outside the parodies of it and Marcel Marceau. So when I met Gregg Goldston, who is the founder of the Goldston and Johnson School for Mimes, I learned that it is actually a very vital art. There's a lot of people are still doing it. And there is, of course, you know, the major cross they have to bear is this constant sort of mockery and parody, and was very eloquent of that as well.

STEWART: Let's listen to a little bit of Gregg talking about mime.

Mr. GREGG GOLDSTON (Founder, Goldston and Johnson School of Mimes): Mime became almost like a craft, like a trick. And this hurt us in the sense that they no longer knew what we were chasing. What we offer is actually closer to what a poet with words offers the public, because a poet gives you just enough words and images to where you paint the rest.

STEWART: All right. So when you came in…

ROSENFELD: Yeah.

STEWART: …you were excited about mime, kind of to a room of people who, like, kind of gave you the MEGO, my eyes glaze over.

ROSENFELD: Yeah. Well, you guys are like the opposite of mimes, right? Because you're all voice and (unintelligible).

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: And you made a critical error in judgment. You said you could make us care about mime. So let's put 60 seconds on the BPP clock.

STEWART: This is a regular feature we're going to have called Make Me Care, where we challenge somebody to make us care about a certain topic. So, Win, make me care about mime. Go.

ROSENFELD: Mime is very important because it's been a major influence on movement in the 20th century. Ever since modern dance has sort of taken on the Martha Graham school of more narrative and more expressive choreographers like Twyla Tharp have made it sort of essential to their work, but popular dances as well. You can see it in break dancing, pop and lock…

BURBANK: Mm-hmm.

ROSENFELD: …the way the tableaus are struck is all very much based on the mime school. Not just dancing, there's actors, method actors - Geoffrey Rush, Patrick Stewart are all people who say, you know, it's very fundamental to what they've learned. Jim Carrey, huge mime fan. He owes a lot of his physical humor to Marceau directly.

And plus, I think the main thing is that it's actually really, really beautiful. And that although we very rarely get a chance actually to see mime, if you do get a chance, I say check it out.

STEWART: And with just a few seconds to go, did it work? Did he make you care about mime?

BURBANK: The fact is that helped brings us "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" is not working for me, but what is working is this awesome video that Win has done at our Web site…

STEWART: Yes.

BURBANK: …npr.org/bryantpark. You need to watch this video.

STEWART: And you can also weigh in on whether Win made you care about mime.

ROSENFELD: Oh, yeah.

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