BWW Interview: Bill Bowers of ALL OVER THE MAP at Creede Repertory Theatre

A New York City based mime artist, actor and educator, Bill Bowers has performed the unique art of mime all around the globe. With his most recent piece, "All Over the Map," Bowers brings his gift of mime to share with audiences in Creede, CO. 2017 Company Member Gina Velez interviews Bill on his inspiration, background, and love of mime.

GV: I've heard you speak on the meditative experience of miming for both the audience and mime- how does that silent space transform both parties by the end of a performance?
BB: If you think about places that are silent--churches, temples, libraries-- they are places of contemplation. I think that sitting in silence opens people up to experience and feeling. It makes us feel vulnerable at times. Also when you take in information in ways other than verbal information, your imagination is asked to engage in a deeper way. Mime asks the audience to participate, to help make the story unfold. I think that collaboration can help open us all up more. We are making this experience together. As Marcel Marceau told me, the genius of mime is the space between the mime and the audience, where the imaginations meet.
GV: How did you get into the world of mime?
BB: I am from Montana, and grew up in what I call "the big Quiet". I love the silence of nature. I am also the youngest in a big family that, like many families, talked about NOTHING. I am also a gay man, and I grew up as a gay kid in a small western town, years before the Oprah Winfrey Show. There was NO conversation about who I was or how I felt. There was just silence. I realize now that I was surrounded by these circles of silence, internal and external, and that led me to a deep interest in NOT talking. Then I discovered that there is an artform about just that, and it is called Mime. I began teaching myself what I thought mime was, and that led me to high school drama club, college theatre, grad school, and working professionally.
GV: What is the most inspirational part of being a mime? What is the most challenging?
BB: I love that mime is the original language of humans, and it is the original performing art. It is as ancient as the need to communicate. It precedes spoken language.
I love introducing audiences, particularly young audiences, to the art of mime. The challenge is that there is a connotation that mime is this strange, quiet, over acting style- that makes people uncomfortable. For this reason I don't wear white face or wear striped shirts, and try not to be scary! I consider mime as one of the tools of story telling. I want Mime to be an accessible and natural theatrical expression.

ABOUT CREEDE REPERTORY THEATRE

As a cultural home for artists, residents, and visitors of the West, Creede Repertory Theatre creates a diverse repertory season of plays, new works, and dynamic education programs. Founded in 1966, Creede Repertory Theatre is a professional theatre company located at 9,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Each season, CRT produces 7-10 plays in rotating repertory, hosts numerous musical events and concerts, develops new works through the Headwaters New Play Program, and offers nationally recognized educational programming. USA Today called CRT "one of the 10 best places to see the lights way off Broadway" and The Denver Post hailed CRT as "legendary" and "one of the state's top five theatre companies."



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