Mime Spoken Here
The Legacy of Tony Montanaro
Physical Eloquence for Stage & Life.
An excerpt from “Theatre & Inspiration,” the 2006 documentary film by Richard Searles, Leland Faulkner & Huey.
An early student of both Marcel Marceau and Marceau’s teacher, Etienne Decroux, Tony Montanaro was one of the great masters of mime. Tony taught his personal style of “physical eloquence” to thousands of students and other teachers for over 50 years – and not just to mimes. Actors, musicians, acrobats and clowns, storytellers and dancers, jugglers and magicians – all sought out Tony for his unique ability to turn individual talents into true and marketable theatre. Tony founded the Celebration Barn in South Paris, Maine, where he taught for 17 years, directing several touring companies and launching many duet and solo careers. He toured nationally and internationally with his wife and partner, Karen Hurll-Montanaro as the Montanaro-Hurll Theater of Mime and Dance.
To Tony, mime is “eloquent gesture,” with or without words, with or without props. Montanaro’s approach is more than an invaluable lesson in theatre; it’s a lesson in communication. Knowing what you want to project, sensing what the audience sees, and developing the skill necessary to bring the two together with eloquence and personal style is the focus of Tony’s Montanaro’s method.
Photo by Al Fisher
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“There are few who can perform and teach as brilliantly as he does – and fewer still who actually do it. His enlightened visual style and creative teaching techniques are an experience I would wish on anyone.”
-Brian Meehl of Mummenschanz and The Muppets
VOLUME ONE ~ Illusions & Exercise
Tony breaks down in great detail the dynamics and mechanics of such classic illusions as The Tug of War, The Wall, The Rope Climb, Walking in Place, The String Puppet, The Robot, Stair Climbing, and Slow Motion. As he explains the techniques involved in each illusion, Tony gives insight into how to bring the illusions to life through “premise” and “intent,” revealing the subtle inaccuracies that interfere with total audience understanding. Throughout, Tony teaches with an emphasis on believability, on justifying the illusion. He stresses that one should not communicate the illusion but also the reason for performing the illusion.
VOLUME TWO ~ Spontaneity & Invention
Tony is joined by a talented crew of professional performers – all former students of Tony’s to demonstrate further the art of “eloquent gesture,” the focus now turning to Spontaneity and Invention. In this rare chance to see the teacher in his element, the classroom, Tony guides this troupe through a series of exercises designed to promote the understanding of process, the willingness to take risks and the art of letting go of the need to reach an end product. In addition to being a great resource for the actor and performer, Volume 2 is also a must-have for any aspiring or accomplished teacher of performing arts. Watching Tony’s refreshing and inspired teaching style is a perfect way to find new inspiration and ideas. Tony guides the troupe through a series of exercises designed to promote the understanding of process.
*We have a limited supply of DVDs still available at $20 each plus shipping and handling. (NTSC format). Click here to inquire.
The Performer’s Portable Workshop
by Tony Montanaro with Karen Hurll-Montanaro
2021 Kindle & Apple Books edition digitally restored by ménes.média
First published in 1995, this Kindle or Apple Books edition of Mime Spoken Here has been updated and reformatted as an eBook in 2021. This book covers: Definition and History of Mime, Warming Up, Premise Work, Isolation Exercises and Illusions, Preparatory Exercises, Improvisation, Creating Sketches and The Subtleties of Performing.
“My motivation for writing Tony’s book was, I think, more convincing than Tony’s motivation. Tony had been doing mime all his life and doing it with extraordinary skill, even before he studied with Marceau and Decroux in Paris in the late 1950s. I, on the other hand, had no idea what mime was until I met Tony. During the following five years of working together, I acquired a profound and life-changing appreciation for the art form – specifically Tony’s unique approach to it.”
-Karen Hurll-Montanaro, Co-Author
254 Pages. Download for $7.99
“Technique is impressive. Artistry is interesting. ‘Impressive’ alone does not stand the test of time. The next guy comes along, and is taller than you, more accomplished, quicker, wealthier, busier… ‘Impressive’ is based on relatives; more or less, better or worse, etc. ‘Interesting’ stands alone. When something is interesting time stops and comparisons are irrelevant.”
– Tony Montanaro
The Tony Store
The Performer's Portable Workshop
First published in 1995, this Kindle edition of Mime Spoken Here has been updated as an eBook. This book covers: Definition and History of Mime, Warming Up, Premise Work, Isolation Exercises and Illusions, Preparatory Exercises, Improvisation, Creating Sketches and The Subtleties of Performing. 254 Pages.
Video-On-Demand Mime Training
4 Hours of Ad-Free Immersive Instruction in Two Volumes taught by a master mime who studied under Marcel Marceau. Available as a download or stream to all your digital devices. This VOD version of MSH is $35. One time fee with no expiration. A limited supply of NTSC DVDs are also available for $20 each plus shipping.
Theatre & Inspiration
Tony Montanaro (1927-2002) was one of the great mime artists of the 20th Century. Rare archival footage is interwoven with interviews and performances. Theatre & Inspiration celebrates Tony’s life and contributions to the world of theatre and the joy he brought to audiences across America and Europe.
Shirts & Coffee Mugs
We’ve partnered with Zazzle to offer on-demand Celebration Mime Ensemble Shirts and Coffee Mugs. Mugs can be ordered in a number of styles and color combinations. Shirts can be ordered in a variety of styles, sizes and colors. Shirts are 100% cotton. 20% of sales help support the platform.
Our posts section features many articles about mime, shared work, video performances, op-eds and more. There is a waiting list of articles in line to be published should more funding become available. Each article takes a minimum of several hours to format and publish. Help publish an article or fast-track an article you’d like to submit by donating $100 to the Legacy Fund. Feel free to leave comments or share articles on social media!
To Visit All Articles
The Mime Times
The MIME TIMES was a publication which was edited, published and distributed by Tony Montanaro and Alan Day from 1976 to 1982. A special tribute issue was printed in 2003 for Tony’s memorial at State Street Church in Portland, Maine. Sharing mime news in the pre-internet era of the arts, the MIME TIMES was once the voice of Tony Montanaro and the Celebration Mime Theatre and was educational, promotional as well as, of course, entertaining. A window into another era, the MIME TIMES makes for some interesting reading, indeed! The early Barn community of artists were an ambitious and industries lot; creating multiple touring troupes, duets, soloists, giving workshops, producing revues, establishing festivals and touring heavily around New England and beyond. Articles were written by company members and many others in the mime field with original drawings and artwork.
Digitally restored in 2022 by ménes.média.
2023 Fundraising Campaign
HELP US CREATE A MULTI-LANGUAGE PLATFORM
Our next step forward in the evolution of MSH is to raise funds to incorporate multiple languages into the platform. We want to offer MSH as a quality multiple language portal. Two of the most influential mime schools were founded by the French teachers Etienne Decroux and Jacques Lecoq. Offering the site in the French language would be superb. Enthusiasm for mime is also strong in Japan, Germany and in Latin America. There are communities of eager mime students awaiting in these regions where English is less spoken. French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese are top on the list of languages we want to include for visitors from afar. Mime is a universal and international art form and Tony had many international students and toured many times to Europe and Asia. We’ve reached out to former students from overseas who have offered their help in making these translations accurate. But we need your help. The best software is subscription based and will increase the overhead of the site. We hope to raise $2023 by the end of 2023 to help underwrite development costs. All contributions to the platform are greatly appreciated.
Supporters & Site Credits
MIME SPOKEN HERE has been made possible, in part, through the generous support of these institutions and individuals. THANK YOU!
Sara Ingram & Peter Gross
Jerry & Mert Parsons
Films by Huey