by Julia Veik
The Marian Mimes, founded in 1972, is a unique group of individuals who forgo words in exchange for facial expressions and gesturing. Miming allows members to grow in confidence of what their body language is communicating while bringing smiles to others’ faces.
Miming, contrary to popular belief, is not all about avoiding all talking and sounds. It’s about practicing the nonverbal expressions that you already make and maximizing them. Mimes have to use these expressions to help observers understand what is happening during their skits.
“Despite the fact that you can’t talk, it’s really a lot of fun if you put everything you have into it,” junior Eleanor Ricketts, who has been a mime for two years, said.
The mimes performed at the Thanksgiving prayer service, roamed around making mischief during Open House, performed skits over a lunch block on March 27 and had the opportunity to walk around in full mime attire and makeup at the Autism Society of Nebraska Puzzle Walk on April 14 at the Ralston Arena.
The Puzzle Walk is a part of the mission of the Autism Society, which is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization. The Autism Society exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. They do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy (https://www.autism-society.org/).
The mimes have been invited to volunteer at the Puzzle Walk for four years.
The Ralston Arena was packed full of bouncy houses, face painting, clowns, a magic show and a photo booth on the main floor. The upper level was lined with booths for different companies and programs that support families and children impacted by autism. There were also two quiet rooms in case any of the kids started to have sensory overload and needed a break.
A person who struggles to deal with everyday sensory information can experience sensory overload, or information overload. Too much information can cause stress, anxiety, and possibly physical pain. This can result in withdrawal, challenging behaviour or meltdown. Often, small changes to the environment can make a difference. (http://www.autism.org.uk/sensory)
The quiet rooms made for the event in Baxter Arena were designed to help negate and prevent sensory overload.
People dressed as characters from different hit films and tv series roamed through the crowd, including Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Voldemort and characters from Star Wars. These characters were included to help add to the general experience of the kids attending the walk.
The mimes walked through the crowds on both levels to entertain kids and make them smile throughout the morning, and then had the opportunity to join in the physical walk. This year it was snowing, so the walk was limited to a short loop around the Ralston Arena.
“What I enjoy about the Puzzle Walk is seeing the smiling faces of those at the walk. It’s so uplifting knowing that with just one event I can put a smile on someone’s face and it means the world to me,” junior Leah Ramaekers said.