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January 10, 1978 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-01-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Mime fans marvel at Marceau

and imagination.
Marcel Marceau is mime.
Audiences throughout the world are
consistently thrilled and fascinated
with the amazing art of Marcel Mar-
ceau. He enchants audiences with his
imaginative movements, managing to
fill a bare stage with shapes and
spaces, walls, objects, landscapes and
a variety of interesting characters.
Marceau is considered by many to be
the mime of all mimes. Even the, rare,
unenthusiastic critic marvels at his
astonishing perception of the graphic
details that make mime so overwhelm-
ing to the imagination of people every-
where. It is the way Marceau
stimulates the imagination of his audi-
ence that makes his art so perfect.
Marceau is eloquent with his body.
The silence in the theatre seems
natural, for on stage Marceau's body
communicates more succintly and elo-
quently than words ever could.
HE CONTROLS parts of his body -
one eyebrow lifts up in suprise with an.
amazing precision of energy and
timing. Marceau's most effective
movement is the explicit detail he gives
to each of his characters.
Marceau's partner, Pierre Vierry, en-
ters with a placard bearing the name of
the scene: "The Small Cafe." We see
Marceau as a customer bleakly stirring
his coffee; as the snobby waiter taking
orders; as the cook cracking eggs to
make an omelette; and finally as the

disgruntled patron attempting to cut
some overdone meat - all within the
span of a few minutes. Marceau con-
torts his face to create instantaneous
characterizations. Each of the charac-
ters has not only a job, but a separate
and unique personality.
In the first act of the performance,
Marceau presents the basic variations
of mime. We see the split-second detail
in the classic scene "The Maskmaker."
Marceau flicks the masks of comedy
and tragedy on-and-off, then finally the
mask of comedy sticks - Marceau
struggles, but it won't come off.
In all the scenes there is an under-
standing of imaginary life - the move-
ment of fish underwater or birds in the
park - that is the perfect virtuosity of
making the invisible visible. The bare
stage comes alive with shapes and for-
ms, and solids and liquids become real.
His art of mime is effective enough to
suggest weather, space and the passage
of time.
IN THE SECOND ACT, he presents
the adventures of his classic character
Bip. Dressed in gray and white, with a
ragged top hat and a bright red flower
perched on top, Bip is used not only to
tell a story, but to show us an aspect of
Marceau's personal philosophy.
Throughout the Bip sequences, there
is a recurrent theme. Bip is required to
reach a goal, to perform a daring act.
Marceau shows Bip putting himself to
essential tests of success and failure:
Trying to get a job, Bip plays the violin,
a concertina, a harmonica and sings ai
aria, all with no success. His face filled

with sadness, Bip seems to represent
the classic man. Marceau's marvelous
sense of comic timing is more impres-
sive than that of even the best actor, as
he can create a flawless impression
with just his body.
It is humanistic comedy that Marcel
Marceau creates. In Bip, the unfor-
tunate aspects of man's life are com-

bined with the irrational feelings of joy,
and the irrepressable humor that keeps
man going. As Bip goes whirling away
from the bright spotlight into the dark-
ness of the stage, rocking and tottering,
we see a celebration of life. We see a
simple celebration of imagination and
movement that is the art of Marcel

Sbo whand comes back

S O GUITAR wizard Eric Clapton has
finally put out an album called
Slowhand (RSO Records RS1-3030). His
old Yardbird nickname may no longer
be the inside joke it once was and, for
some, may actually describe the
sometimes lifeless technique of recent
solo work. Still, it gives his followers
hope that he might be getting back on
the right track.
While there isn't a smashing, knock-
down masterpiece on this LP (as there
weren't on any of his albums since
Layla), a couple of very good tunes
should greatly enhance his present

message across quite well. It features
some of the sharp, clear picking he was
known for in the Cream days.


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