In high school Speech and Drama, where teen weirdos commune together in an oasis of nerds, even mimes come across as the odd, quiet ones. At least, this is what I recall from my Speech days. Mimes often seemed distinct from the rest of us, probably, I think now, just because of the stark black outfits and white make-up. They didn’t shout or cry or speechify when rehearsing like the rest of us did. But in competition, watching pantomime made it clear that when well done, it is truly an art.
They say that 80 percent of communication is through body language, and that’s what the best mime performance excels in. You try to tell people, without talking, about that time you went on a bike ride and got in a wreck.
Bill Bowers, who happens to be from Missoula, is a New York City-based actor and mime who studied under the legendary Marcel Marceau. He’s acted in Broadway productions, television shows and played a mime in the Sandra Bullock movie Two Weeks Notice.
Bowers describes himself as a “fun mime” with non-traditional performances. The lighthearted, whimsical “Under a Montana Moon,” piece includes Bowers wearing a cowboy hat and pretending to swill whiskey. Bowers started doing mime as a “quiet, shy gay kid, and the idea of not talking was very interesting to me,” as he says in a video interview with TheaterJones.com. His backstory illuminates how pantomime can be another important means of expression, a way of communicating when words just don’t do the trick. That’s the point of body language, after all.
Bill Bowers performs at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts, starting at 7:30 PM. $20. Call the box office at 406-728-7529.