September 24th, 2007

Big Damn Heroes

Rest in Peace (and Quiet), Marcel Marceau

Marcel Marceau died Saturday at the age of 84. (pictures).

Marceau came and performed in Ann Arbor regularly most of my life and I went to more than one of his summer festival performances. Briefly, when I was a teen, Tom Monaghan hoped to start a World Center for Mime at Domino's farms, and my sister and I took workshops in mime two summers in a row. Monaghan recruited Marceau to help out, but it never really got off the ground.

Yes, I've studied mime, and it was one of the most physically challenging and expressive things I ever learned. I didn't study under Marceau, but I did meet him. He was a warm-hearted genius of a man, who greatly forwarded the notion that some truths are internationally human, understandable by all, without words to describe or explain them. His work was both funny and dramatic, from short, poignant sketches to epic stories of adventure or romance.

The world is lucky to have had him, for the time that we did.

Farewell, Monsieur Marceau.

*pictures in her mind the longing-yet-releasing gesture of regretful goodbye that we were taught to signify someone dear who has gone far, far away, and smiles, albeit with tears in her eyes*