Pantomime art dates back to Greek and Roman Theaters. It saw a great advancement especially during the rule of Roman King, Augustus. It also has a deep connection with the Italian Theater Commedia Dell’arte. This art was spread to other parts of the world from Italy by the troupe of artists travelling from one place to another and performing on their way. Patented characters began to develop later on. Actor John Rich was responsible for bringing this art in Britain by the name Lun, a short form of lunatic this was because his performance were rather wild. But this weird act tickled the ribs of many and soon it became very popular. Other rival troupes began learning and performing this art. Many great Pantomimes were created in this process.
Pantomime is the traditional part of mime. Facial expressions, body language and movements are greatly emphasized upon in this art. Basically the whole human body movements are studied so as to increase its range. The mummer depicts an object with the help of gestures and expressions. Like he can act as if he is sitting on a chair and reading a newspaper although there is no physical chair or a newspaper, only an illusion. The performer can create an illusion of a wall by opening his fist and pretending to touch it, the end of the wall is shown by slapping hard in the air. The performer depicts a rope as if he is tugging on it and trying to pull a heavier object on the other end of the rope. Mummer leans in air to show the presence of a peseta or wall. The most common one is the illusion of a box in which the mummer is trapped. Michael Jackson’s moonwalk is one of the best examples of pantomime.
Pantomime is a favorite with the audience in the holiday seasons. These performances are usually targeted for the kids but also adults aren’t disappointed at the same time. Many folktales, fairytales and even Disneyland’s stories have been enacted using Pantomime. Some of them are Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Mother Goose, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and, Jack and the Beanstalk.
Pantomime or Panto has been a very important part of theater arts in countries like Australia, Canada, Great Britain, South Africa and New Zealand. In today’s times, Berwich Kaler is considered to be the master of Pantomime. He is being working at the York Theatre Royal since twenty-seven years. People turn up at three in the night and make a beeline to buy tickets for his show. He is hailed for reviving an old forgotten art and bringing back the memories of a bygone area.