Part 2: Under The White Mask (Blancs... sous le masque)
111 mins, 2004
Under The White Mask is the second part of a diptych on the history of mime, following Should We Take Mimes at Their Word? It is a dramaturgy conceived as an ongoing dialogue between narrators, jesters and the historical figures of mime: the “whites”.
Five jesters appear from nowhere and unfurl on stage. Their bodies are deformed by bulges, and their identities (social, historical, geographical, and sexual) are multiple and uncertain. Nevertheless, they look familiar. Unlike mimes, they are not silent, they speak gibberish, combining French, English, Spanish, Japanese, Italian until it becomes nonsensical. They are provocateurs, whistleblowers. They laugh at everything, especially at mimes while revealing their function as farcical.
From the Etruscans, medieval jesters, clowns, contemporary design buffoons, Jacques Lecoq or carnival tradition, they are a popular expression, anarchic, funny, and cruel, and they have a political dimension. They are the antidote to academism and didacticism. They utter at the same time one thing and its opposite. They are like a breath, a smile- sometimes grinning and terrifying - but always an invitation to reflect on Theatre, Mime, Stage and more generally, memory, knowledge and truth. They are the colour when the white mime is too white. These noisy buffoons are juxtaposed against the traditional silence of white mimes, whose whiteness is complete, allowing them to disappear and reappear. They invite us to reflect on silence, on forbidden speech, mutism, autism, the unspoken unnameable, the subtext which needs not be voiced. The tension between these two types of physical actors articulates a dialogue between body and words, sensory experience and intellect.
Part 1: Should We Take Mimes at Their Word? (Faut-il Croire les Mimes sur Parole?)
68 mins, 2003
With humour and poetry, an actor-lecturer-demonstrator-illusionist brings back to life the figures of Livius Andronicus, Harlequin, Jean-Gaspard Debureau’s Pierrot in “Les Enfants du Paradis”, Chaplin’s Tramp and Marcel Marceau’s Bip. For an instant, he summons up Etienne Decroux’s mobile statuary, Jean-Louis Barrault’s 'total actor', or Jacque Lecoq’s buffoon.
Ivan Bacciocchi will take up the challenge to embody all of these apparitions. Equipped only with an odd suitcase he will, with verve, revive twenty-five centuries of theatre and mime history.
For a reflection on the history of mime from antiquity to the present day, a demonstrator was necessary, or rather a storyteller, able to recount both the grand and the seemingly insignificant histories of mime in a playful and passionate way.
A mime accustomed to the difficult techniques of the Commedia dell’arte, of pantomime and to the particularly rigorous techniques of Etienne Decroux was necessary. An actor able to imitate the greats of silent film and to slip into the codes governing clowning or mask work was necessary. The Theatre du Mouvement found Ivan Bacciocchi, mime, actor, improviser, professor.
It is your turn to discover the multiple facets of his talent.