From Ancient Italy to Modern Day Mimes
Read More About Richard's Influences and the Style Behind Olde Worlde Theatre
Richard Stein began his acting career at age 9 in a school play growing up in New York City. Throughout his career he found his greatest acting influences to be among his teachers in the 70's who brought to him the art of mime as well as introduced him to Commedia dell'Arte and improvisation. Below you will find more information about the styles that have influenced Olde Worlde Theatre, including the improvisational style from which they work prior to and often during shows.
Emerging in the 16th Century in Italy, Commedia dell'Arte was an improvisational intinerant theatre genre that became popular throughout Europe. Commedia focused on archetypal characters that are part of the human experience and still part of our most popular stories, such as miser Ebenezer Scrooge opposite the kind and good Tiny Tim. Characters often reflected real people in and around their time as part of a social commentary. Performers wore masks and improvised much of their performance. As the genre spread across Europe, the English version included pantomime and exaggerated characters performing without words, though often incorporating acrobatics and juggling. The popular characters Punch and Judy arose from this tradition and are still part of modern day literature and performance art. Many modern day actors credit Commedia for shaping their performance style.
A HISTORY OF MIME
Mime techniques originated in Ancient Greece and have progressed through many forms of performance arts across Europe and in the US. Theater in other parts of the world, such as India and Japan, also have versions of mime and they have also influenced many mime performers in Western cultures. Mimes typically act out stories using body movements and facial expressions, though in Greece they were not always silent. Mime and Commedia are often intertwined and are both part of the Olde Worlde Theatre's style!