It's not unusual for performing artists to change their names when they launch their careers, but how about a mime group that changes its name?

"We're in a misunderstood art form," says Michael Dimin, managing director of Theatre Plexus. "Mime isn't just for children. We used to be the Plexus Mime Theatre, but now we're Theatre Plexus. We dropped the 'mime' because of that misconception."

Theatre Plexus has returned from the London International Mime Festival and will perform a homecoming concert tonight at 7:30 in the Performing Arts Center of Montgomery College's Rockville campus.

"Most people think of Marcel Marceau or Shields and Yarnell. That's all they've seen. That's not all we do. We've gone in different directions," says Robert Morse, one of the three Theatre Plexus performers. "We don't start out with a written script. We start out with movement and a certain style, and things are added to that -- a costume piece or prop." Exaggerated masks made of papier-ma che' are sometimes used in performances that include the martial arts, tap dance, clowning, as well as traditional mime.

Dimin sums up their art as "movement theater that bridges the gap between dance and theater."

The group's name hints at the variety of performing arts in its acts. Morse's partner Jyl Hewston says they chose the name Plexus because it means "a bunch of different things that come together to make one. Each selection will be of a completely different style of movement."

"A family can go to the show and the parents understand it on one level and the kids on another. It's rare," says Dimin.

For ticket information, call the box office at 279-530l or Theatre Plexus at 585-4131.