Sunday, September 23, 2007

Marcel Marceau, RIP

Talking about his universal and lasting appeal, Marceau once said: " "Mime, like music, knows neither borders nor nationalities."

My childhood in Paris was punctuated, every few years, by trips to the theater to see Marcel Marceau perform, entirely in silence. I think the last time I saw him live I was a young adult, but I read in today's BBC obituary that he performed until very recently. He died Saturday at the age of 84. His main character was Bip (pictured above), a white-faced descendant of the harlequins of yore. Sad and witty, Marceau was, off stage as well as on, humane and plastic (in the sense of "flexible"), giving voiceless voice to the human heart. He must have listened to it well.

4 comments:

Padre Mickey said...

I know this is off topic, but I don't have your email address, and I figured you'd see any comments.

Have you heard from Ed, the Simple Village Organist? He hasn't posted anything to his blog since Sept. 3, and he hasn't been by the Dance Party.

Since you've met him in person, I thought you might be in correspondence with him.

Just wondering where he is and hoping he's okay.

My email address is mgdbach at gmail dot com

Jane R said...

Been trying to reach him for some days and no reply. Have written you a bit more detail via e-mail just now.

Kenneth Wolman said...

Now, let's try this again...

I saw Marceau work only once, I suppose in 1957 when I was a Jr. High School misfit. I was mesmerized, even though I had no idea of the depth of his work. His opening I do recall: it was a relatively simple "Walking against the wind." But any man who can take the creation of the human race from fish to newborn to corpse is an artist for the ages.

I read he studied with Etienne Decroux, who also taught Marceau's contemporary Jean-Louis Barrault. So a free plug: I stubbornly continue to believe Marcel Carne's Les Enfants du Paradis is the greatest love story ever filmed, and perhaps the greatest film I've ever seen. The scene in which Barrault, that beautiful man, reenacts a crime he saw on the street, not a word spoke and relying only on stylized gesture, is magnificently funny.

It is sad to see people with these gifts fade behind the curtain....

Algernon said...

No jokes about his final words?