Arts and Entertainment

Arterberry prefers mime over matter


The Mirror

Trent Arterberry thought he would follow his father and become a doctor.

Instead, he took his own path and became a mime.

It’s a journey that has taken him around the world and to different venues, including rock concerts, colleges, cruise ships, corporate parties and theaters big and small.

He’ll perform at Knutzen Family Theater at 2 p.m. this Saturday. This is his first time playing at a family theater, even though his show has been family-oriented for several years.

Ticket prices are $10 and $8. Information is available at 835-2020.

Arterberry was a pre-med student in southern California when he realized becoming a doctor wasn’t what he wanted to do. He left medical school and went to a junior college. While considering going back to the math/science track, he saw a mime act and was intrigued. He started figuring out the moves of the mime and gave a quick demonstration to a professional mime one day. The pro encouraged him further, offering an accompanying part in a performance he was giving.

It was Arterberry’s first time performing. He was hooked.

For the next several years, he performed and practiced across the country and eventually landed in France, where he trained some with Marcel Marceau, possibly the world’s most renowned mime.

Arterberry, 53, ditched the white face about a decade ago and set about updating his act, adding recorded sound effects and live voice narration and sounds.

The stereotypical silent mime in the park is exactly that –– and arcane, he said.

In fact, the last 10 years the mime community has gotten a bad image, he observed. For some reason, popular culture has taken the view that mimes are annoying and to be ridiculed. Some of that might have been brought upon themselves by mimes who were aggressive in the park, Arterberry acknowledged. But there is also a great deal of innovative work in the mine community, he said.

His show has some classic mime routines, including a robot –– but with ratchet sounds incorporated with the movements –– and a vignette where he’s scuba diving. Arterberry also developed a closing act with a puppet, “Mr. Bigg.” The puppet sits on his head and dances to a variety of music under a blacklight. Arterberry is invisible.

He said a lot of time is spent on each part of the performance. Mr. Bigg took more than six months to develop before even getting on stage. Arterberry uses mirrors to check that his movements make sense and explain the story. Sometimes he has a director watch his acts and offer constructive criticism.

The 60-minute show is family-oriented, with humor adults and children 5 and older will enjoy on different levels.

Sometimes he wonders about how his life would be if he had stayed with pre-med, Arterberry said. It would have been more financially secure and required less travel than his current profession. Yet ...

“It’s a very fun job,” he said of miming.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565,

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