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pantomime

pantomime or mime (păn´təmīm) [Gr.,=all in mimic], silent form of the drama in which the story is developed by movement, gesture, facial expression, and stage properties. It is known to have existed among the Chinese, Persians, Hebrews, and Egyptians and has been observed in many other cultures. Pantomime was popular in ancient Rome, where it was often explained by songs or simple action. The traditional characters of pantomime take their origin in the Italian commedia dell'arte of the 16th cent. English pantomime, originated by John Rich, was more pageant than pantomime, and in 1818, when J. R. Planche began his extravaganzas with "speaking openings," pantomime in England became a dramatic spectacle with songs and speeches. Joseph Grimaldi and Jean Gaspard Deburau were famous pantomime stars of the 19th cent. In silent pictures, Charlie Chaplin made his name as a great pantomime actor. Marcel Marceau has been the leading artist in France.

See C. Aubert, Art of Pantomime (1927, repr. 1969); J. Lawson, Mime (1957, repr. 1973).

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pantomime

pan·to·mime / ˈpantəˌmīm/ • n. 1. a dramatic entertainment, originating in Roman mime, in which performers express meaning through gestures accompanied by music. ∎  an absurdly exaggerated piece of behavior: he made a pantomime of checking his watch. ∎ inf. a ridiculous or confused situation or event: the drive to town was a pantomime. 2. Brit. a theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, that involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas. • v. [tr.] express or represent (something) by extravagant and exaggerated mime: the clown candidates pantomimed different emotions. DERIVATIVES: pan·to·mim·ic / ˌpantəˈmimik/ adj. pan·to·mim·ist n.

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pantomime

pantomime a theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas. Modern British pantomime developed from the harlequinade and the cast typically includes a man in the chief comic female role (‘principal dame’), a woman in the main male role (‘principal boy’), and an animal played by actors in comic costume.

Pantomime is recorded from the late 16th century, and was first used in the Latin form and in the sense of an actor in Roman mime expressing meaning through gestures accompanied by movement. The current use developed in English in the mid 18th century.

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pantomime

pantomime (from Gk., ‘all imitating’).
1. Play in which artists use dumb show.

2. Mimed episode in larger work, e.g. in Ravel's ballet Daphnis et Chloé when story of Pan and Syrinx is mimed.

3. Type of Eng. stage show usually presented at the Christmas period, loosely based on a fairy-story, containing songs, and in former times concluding with harlequinade.

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pantomime

pantomime ancient Roman actor who performed in dumb show XVII; dramatic entertainment by gestures to a musical accompaniment; performance of a dramatized tale followed by a transformation scene and clowning XVIII. — F. pantomime or L. pantomīmus — Gr. pantómīmos adj. and sb.; see PANTO-, MIME. Abbrev. panto XIX.
So pantomimic XVII. — L.

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pantomime

pantomime Theatrical spectacle with its modern origins in early 18th-century France. It has come to mean a Christmas extravaganza, with music and comic actors. Popular in England by the 19th century, the ‘dame’ figure was traditionally played by a male actor and the principal boy by a female. The once-central Harlequin character now appears infrequently.

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pantomime

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