Marcel Marceau

Definition

Theater

  • (1923 - 2007) French mime artist, generallyregarded as the greatest modern exponent of the form. Marceau trainedunder Charles Dullin, Etienne Decroux, and Jean-Louis Barraultbefore abandoning conventional acting for mime. In 1946 he introducedat the Théâtre de Poche in Paris his famous characterof Bip, a whitefaced clown in a white costume, striped bowtie, and a stovepipe hat with a red flower in it. The character, essentiallya development of the 19th-century Pierrot tradition, wasnamed after Pip in Dickens's Great Expectations.

    Marceau defined mime as "the art of expressing feelingsby attitudes and not a means of expressing words through gestures."His best-known routines included one in which he tries to escape froman invisible box. In 1978 he founded his école de Mimodramede Paris at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin. Aftera career of some 60 years he made a farewell tour of the world in2004.

    In 1975 Marceau appeared in Mel Brooks's film Silent Movie;he had the only speaking part.

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