“Speech is silver, silence is golden.”
A review in The Indianapolis Star said, “the man has the most expressive hands since
The San Francisco Chronicle said, “…He created entire worlds with the tilt of an eyebrow or the stretch of an arm, with a stare or a smile. He told stories, brought to life unforgettable characters and displayed the essence of the theatre, the soul of dance…”
They were talking about Marcel Marceau, “The World’s Greatest Mime.”
Mime is theatre without words. The art of speaking and story telling with the body. Various styles of mime have been around since time began but nobody ever did it better than Marcel. For 60 years, he entertained audiences all over the world.
He was born in Strasbourg, France. From the womb, it seemed he knew his destiny. He would imitate, without sound whatever he encountered. His inspiration came from silent screen comics Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel, and Oliver Hardy. His career as a mime became unstoppable by his work at Charles Dullin’s School of Dramatic Art and the creation of his character, “Bip” the clown.
Honored by governments, universities, and the art world many times. “The cage, walking against the wind, and the mask maker” were some of his classic routines. I had the thrill of watching him perform on several occasions. The day before Marcel was to receive an honorary degree from the Ohio State University, the public was invited to watch him teach a class. I don’t think I even blinked my eyes fearing I would miss something. I was thrilled beyond my wildest expectations when I was given the opportunity to meet him at a reception following the class.
Marcel was very gracious. He signed an autograph for me, posed for a picture, and answered my questions. He was 75 years old when I met him and still in love with the work he had been doing all his life. And he announced his intention to keep on doing it as long as God would let him. In a world filled with the roar of jet engines, the drone of traffic, and the blare of television, Marcel entertained and lifted young and old with silence.
Since the creation of heaven and Earth, God has been performing without words too. He’ll paint rainbows in the sky. He’ll sprinkle stars in the Heavens. Flowers bloom and blossom. In the fall leaves flutter in the wind and quietly make their way to earth. In Winter, snowflakes dance. In Spring, the breeze hugs the trees. In Summer, clouds roll through the sky. Sunrise and sunset, all these things happen without words but they speak volumes if we only take the time to listen. Through nature, God speaks of love, beauty, hope and renewal.
“Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words.”
“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord…”
Psalm 33: 5
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