The antipathy [toward mime] is often justified. With the exception of a few rare talents, most are nothing but genetically inferior spawns, mimicking the one true practitioner. The trouble is that these watered-down Marceaus rarely get it right -- and in so doing have made mime a four-letter word. "There is," as Marceau says, "only one Marceau." Yes, he's the real thing. He has an impeccable comic sense, and knows how to make you feel, in your soul, the tragic moment. It's no accident that children are his best audiences, because his art demands active participation, imagination. His is a world fashioned out of thin air. You see a statue, a pickpocket, a matador, a lion tamer, a soldier, a man passionately embraced by his lover. Marceau's highly stylized, lyrical sketches can be light and whimsical or bitingly satiric and dark. "Marceau in our time," says New York Times theater critic Clive Barnes, "remains the supremely eloquent voice of silence and poet of gesture."
While mourning the passing of a true master of performance, I am also mourning the passing of our collective sense of wonder and imagaination. I have an audition this evening and Bip will be on my mind (and hopefully in my soul).