Without a word

Muhammad Ibrahim Ibne Towhid writes about his experience as an audience member at the recent ‘International Mime Fest 2017’ at the Dhaka University premises

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Mime is the form of entertainment that uses gestures, mimics and dance, not words, to communicate and entertain. The purpose of the white faces of the mime is to help the audience be able to see the performer from far away. The designs on the face help bring the character to life and express emotion without words. For instance, a tear-drop refers to sadness.

 

The TSC auditorium at University of Dhaka hosted the first ‘International Mime Fest’ from April 17 where 17 mime groups from all over Bangladesh and some invited from foreign countries showed their talents during different sessions of the three daylong festival.

After the inauguration programme on the first evening, four sketches were performed. The Dhaka University Mime team performed a skit ‘Chore chore mastuto bhai’ (One thief knows another), where the duo showed good coordination in chasing each other, climbing a building with the help of a rope and encountering in conflicts.

One of the mimes went speechless after finding the properties within the closet of a house. The expression was so properly portrayed that the entire audience gave a huge round of applause.  The other movements of getting scared by dogs, giggling and running away after hearing the police sirens were equally appreciated.

Another sketch titled ‘Life as it is anywhere’ came up with gestures as a person adapted to all the seasons while residing in a forest all by himself while having fruits and passing carefree time. Romisa Kisi from Nepal performed a traditional dance prior to her team’s performance on the last day.

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All the performances were done with analog focus lights and set recorded music played in background. The performances were beautifully matched with preset instrumentals.

The skit ‘Shapey Neule’ (conflict between neighbours) was interesting as the two mimes of the performance engaged in a fight over one watching television and the other listening to loud music. As the story developed, at one point of fighting, they break each others’ instruments. In the end they are both left mesmerised as another girl plays a soft patriotic music upstairs.

Another part of the show also included the fun side of two thieves, performed by the team Mukto Mancha from Gazipur.

On the second day of the show, there was a solo performance among other skits. The sketch titled Hojoborolo (haphazard) highlighted the bad habits of people who travel on buses.

At one point, a passenger rubs rubbish onto the person sitting next to him. Finally the last person consumes the dirt after mixing it with his ice-cream as topping.

The Indian team Smristi Mime Theatre presented an artistic performance titled ‘Mirror’. Here an individual brought out the caged self from the mirror into life. However, after some merriment and receiving a bluff in love, the inner self again goes back into the isolated mirror.

Team Provatferi from Chittagong University of Science and Technology (CUET) performed ‘Manusher vetor theke jege uthukh manush’ (May the real humans emerge). It showed how significant monuments and murals are defaced as these are used as dating spots, by drug addicts, as a spot for urination, to post banners for political campaigns and sports.

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The last skit titled ‘Selfie Menace’ showed the obsession of an individual for selfies. He takes selfies while in the toilet, while taking food and even while dying after an accident.

The festival was organised by DUMA (Dhaka University Mime Action) and ran with the slogan ‘Na Bola Kotha Gulo Na Bolei Hok Bola’. The other countries that took part were Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and India.

Other than mime shows, there were plenary sessions, rally, street show, workshop on mime, mime competition for schools & colleges students and award ceremony. The call was to end all sort of disputes and present criticisms through performances.