It is easy for some of us not to speak this first day –
we’ve been not speaking our whole lives, our bodies always
our instruments. Others don’t quite yet have the gesture to bum a cigarette
during lunch break or the expressioned excuse me for the head.
During the chancellor’s not-talk we are shown a subtitled film
on the history of mime: mimos, mimic, the imitator, the actor, start with the Greeks
and Japanese kyogen, komai, and kabuki, the Italians and commedia dell’arte, and then
the French. It always ends with the French. Marcel Marceau and Jacques Lecoq
and Jean-Gaspard Debureau. We are shown not so subtly that soon we won’t
even have that, written symbol will be no good to us here in immersion.
A book is closed and locked, a key is swallowed, a tummy rubbed. When I look
around I see nothing but the hum of breathing and the beating of hearts and hear
for the first time the sadness and beauty of painted faces. Laughter without
laughter. Acts choreographed to orchestra. I know why we’re all here. Let me show you.
Nik De Dominic is an editor of The Offending Adam and New Orleans Review. Work has appeared in DIAGRAM, Los Angeles Review,Guernica, and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.