Silent Poetry – A Tribute to Marcel Marceau

(CAVEAT: I should mention the fact that I arrived late to this performance, and missed much of the first half.)

I’m actually at a bit of a loss as to what to say: I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen every production this guy has put on for the past five years, and I’ve written so much that I don’t know what further to add. Then I thought, well, that’s a hell of a recommendation, isn’t it? Let me emphasize that again – I’ve seen every show he’s put on for the past five years. I can think of – maybe one other group (the modern dance trio Mad King Thomas) about which that’s close to true.

So that means that I’m pretty useless at trying to articulate what a first-timer is going to see. I can definitely say, as someone who’s been following his work, that the development of his craft has been fascinating to watch – and that I think that he’s made a quantum leap forward in just the past couple of months. There’s his usual grab-bag of material here: brand-new sketches that have never been in front of audience before, and old sturdy ones that never seem to stop being re-invented – there’s one piece that I’m pretty sure hasn’t been in front of an audience for years, and watching all of the slight structural changes that take place for different venues and different crowds is compelling stuff.

Recommending him causes me to feel like a bit of a broken record – I’ve been trying to sell his stuff for as long as I’ve known him, and audiences just never seem to turn out for it – I suppose the “mime” stigma is nearly impossible to overcome. But it’s funny. It’s smart. It’s weird and dark and interesting. The broad, simple strokes in which the sketches are painted lend themselves to easy application and interpretation – but there are undercurrents of some actual thought to most of them. It’s fringe – pure Fringe – and the people who are missing out on it don’t know what they’re missing.

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