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Marcel Marceau, Mime Artist

Marcel Marceau

In April 2001, the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama welcomed internationally renowned mime artist Marcel Marceau for a series of lectures and workshops. The lectures, entitled "Marcel Marceau Speaks," which included videos of his performances, were part of the Ralph L. Collins Memorial Lecture Series. Marceau returned during the following season with a stunning performance as part of the IU Auditorium season.

Marcel Marceau, a "physical poet," has made his career in the art of being silent. "He has the precision of a dancer and the ease of an actor...watching this legend is an experience not to be missed." (The Boston Herald, 2000). Marcel Marceau, universally acclaimed as the worlds greatest mime artist, "creates entire worlds with the tilt of an eyebrow, the stretch of an arm, a stare or a smile." (San Francisco Chronicles, 1999). "This is genius. This is Marceau." (New York Post, 1999).

Marceau’s art has become familiar to millions of Americans through his many public and television appearances. Born in Strasbourg, France, he was inspired by silent film artists such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harry Langdon, Harold Lloyd, and Laurel & Hardy. In 1944 he enrolled in Charles Dullins School of Dramatic Art in the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in Paris, where he studied with his mime master Etienne Decroux. In 1947, Marcel Marceau created his character Bip, recognizable by his striped jersey, whiteface and the red rose in his top hat.

Starting with simple stylistic exercises (’The Tug of War’, ’Chasing Butterflies’), Marceau moved on to philosophical mimodramas such as "The Cage" and "The Mask Maker." Of his famous "Youth, Maturity, Old Age and Death," one critic said, "he accomplishes in less than five minutes what most novelists can not do in volumes." Marceaus’ abstract style has been disseminated throughout the world. Marceau first toured in the United States in 1955-56, soon after his North American debut at the Stratford (Ontario) Festival. He has since toured the U.S. on a regular basis for over 40 years and has shared his art around the world.