Finding your voice through the art of silence

by Bill Bowers | 1 April 2014

I grew up in Montana – one of the quietest places on Earth.

I have had an interest in Mime since a very young age, but only in the last 15 years have I begun to look at the source of this fascination. I grew up in Montana – one of the quietest places on Earth, in a family of Montana homesteaders, who tend to keep things quiet, and aren’t especially expressive of their emotions. I am also the youngest child of six, so had siblings who talked for me. Like most American families of the 50’s and 60’s, we rarely “talked” about anything of importance. I am also a gay man, and was a gay boy in a small Montana town, long before OPRAH, or GLEE. There was no conversation to be had about who I was or what I was feeling. It was the 60’s. All of these experiences, or circles of silence, gave me a familiarity with Not talking. I also grew interested in What it was that was not being said. As a creator of original work, my works employs the Art of Silence to consider the Phenomenon of Silence in all our lives.

What do we gain and lose by silence?

My first play, Under a Montana Moon (2000), is a collection of Silent Stories that could all occur under a Western Sky. These stories look at the experiences of Being Silenced, Remaining Silent and Silencing Someone else. In ‘Night Sweetheart ‘Night Buttercup (2001), a two-character play, the focus is on sexual abuse in a family, and the effect this has on two siblings who hold this secret.

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