Homage to master mime Marceau in San José

June 6, 2008

When Marcel Marceau died in September, some might have suspected the master mime took with him an art form he resurrected and transformed into the spectacle it is today – his final act of silence.

Alexander Neander and Wolfram von Bodecker, disciples of the artist credited for influencing Michael Jackson’s “moonwalk,” are determined to help the hushed performance to endure. Compagnie Bodecker & Neander comes to San José to perform tonight at 8 p.m. at the Melico Salazar Theater “in homage to our maître,” they said in an e-mail interview with The Tico Times.

TT: What, for you, is the most valuable part of the great Marcel Marceau’s lasting legacy? 

B&D: Beyond the technical aspect and poetry of his art, Marceau handed down to us his abnegation. Imagine the kind of strength of character it took to be able to create theater without text. In his era, it was impossible to imagine a performance in silence. Throughout his career, against all odds, Marceau always defended his dogma, so that the art of miming would endure.

TT: Where’s Marceau’s art most visible today?

B&D: It would be impossible to make a list of all the artists Marceau influenced. This includes painters, musicians, dancers… figures like Jean Cocteau, Michael Jackson and Rudolf Nureyev, to name a few.

TT:

What’s “Silence!” about?

B&D: Marceau always said that emptiness is full and silence is music. Silence is not mute; it can tell more than a thousands words. Our show supports this principle through two protagonists who create poetic fables. Our creation is a succession of pantomimes in different universes.

“Music in the Rain” is a pantomime based on a day in the rain in Paris – musicians in the street, water running and carrying with it memories of an old era.

“The Martian” transports us to conquer outer space, to meet faraway worlds without forgetting the magic of dreams.

“The Café” is a piece that shows how a couple of grains of salt can turn a day at the café into a nightmare. Our hands speak of the good and bad of all human beings. A man facing a crossroads must choose which pair of hands he will carry through life.

“Antonio’s Four Seasons”: a dreamer, Antonio awaits his lover who never arrives. But no matter, tomorrow Antonio will wait again…

In “Homage to Our Maître Marcel Marceau,” we’ve created a pantomime based on some of the moments of his work that most influenced us, artistically and emotionally. It’s something very symbolic and poetic… For people who had the occasion to see Marceau, we think they will identify with the personalities and different landscapes. Also, those who didn’t see him can get to know the poetry of his work and the evolution of this art.

TT: What should an aspiring mime do to become great?

B&D: Our profession is like that of a priest; you have to commit. Then comes passion and labor in order to bear fruit. Specifically, our art requires enormous bodily discipline, mastery of rhythm and a lot of fantasy.

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