Mimes in trouble seem to be at a disadvantage. After all, they can’t yell for help. Despite this, they’re always getting themselves stuck places—especially in invisible boxes. Why? And what are some surefire strategies for getting out again?
The answer to the first question is simple—a box gives a mime something to do. “In mime, when there’s a problem, that’s a great source of discovery,” says longtime silent movement practitioner Catherine Gasta. Gasta performed for eight years with Washington, D.C.’s Synetic Theater, where she was trained in a style of mime traditionally practiced in the country of Georgia. “If Marcel Marceau is a balletic mime, Georgian mime is hip-hop mime,” she says—flashier and more dynamic.
This training comes through in her invisible-box philosophy. “I was taught to make it as big and real as possible,” she says. “When you really feel panicked and trapped in a box, the audience feels it, too.”
And when you find your way out, not only is the relief palpable, you’ve gotten a chance to display your creativity. “How you fix this problem of being stuck in the box, that’s what’s most interesting,” Gasta says. “And I think that’s true for life.”
Gasta agreed to demonstrate two of her favorite escape strategies for us. Try your gloved hands at The Key and The Explosion, but remember—the truest escapes come from within.
Method #1: The Key
Method #2: The Explosion