Wednesday, September 26, 2007

'Never get a mime talking. He won't stop.'

Today in Paris was the funeral for Marcel Marceau, the world famous mime of the twentieth century. He had been famous for his creation of Bip in 1947, his sad white face, striped shirt with a top hat with large red rose that hung over the brim. He said of Bip's character, "He is a romantic and burlesque hero of our time, and he is also my alter ego, struggling like Don Quixote against the windmills in the battlefields of life. . .alone in a fragile world filled with injustice and beauty." His obituaries stated he had been a French Jew who had been active in the French Resistance, especially helping to protect Jewish children. His father died in Auschwitz. Working until the end of his life, he also founded and taught at the International School of Mime in Paris in the 1970's.
Sadly for me, this is the passing of a distinctly romantic memory from my childhood. I had seen him once on the Ed Sullivan show. He was French, quiet, expressive, agile, and I was smitten. In my recent past the name of Marcel Marceau brings to mind a boy named Peter who was a first grader at the Montessori School where I worked. As is typical of the curriculum of Montessori, the students were encouraged to pick a famous person, research then write and illustrate a report about that person. Peter's parent's had recently taken him to see a performance by Marceau in Chicago and this boy couldn't quit talking about what he'd seen. He wrote a rather enchanting bio of the artist and the pictures he drew were not quite brilliant but very entertaining and enlightened. I enjoyed helping him with his research because it was heartwarming to know that a little bit of our culture would maybe be saved in the mind of a young boy who learned about famous artist on a live stage rather than from a Trivial Pursuit question.

' Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words? '
Marcel Marceau


Naturegirl said...

I once dressed as Marceau when attending a costume party and WON! I should post that when I feel better.

Your words were encourging to me when you commented at fellow Libra..I will be your age on the 21st! You know Shirley Valentine might just be the medicine I was the first day I woke without the excruciating pain..oh that rash is so.o.o.o nasty! It is a pleasure to meet you! hugging you gently NG

Catherine said...

That is a great quote!!
Nice post!


Marianne said...

What a wonderful post and tribute, what an amazing soul!

kris said...

Hi - thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment. Very happy to meet you! I just did a very quick trip through yours - great stuff - I'll be back! I love this tribute to Marcel Marceau - very nice. The story of your young student was heartwarming.