After an extended solo run at Cambridge, MA's American Repertory Theatre, the world's most famous mime, Marcel Marceau, now comes to New York -- but he isn't be alone. Not only is the silent artist offering his solo performances (including the U.S. premiere of "Bip and the Tragedian's Beard") for two weeks, his first week in town (Oct. 24-29), he performs with his company in "The Bowler Hat."
A mime comedy about a London treasury clerk with a Walter Mitty-like psyche, Hat is written and directed by Marceau and features a cast of 12 playing more than 50 roles. Isabelle Serrand contributes original music to the piece, featuring the performers of La Nouvelle Compagnie de Mimodrame Marcel Marceau. Sets and costumes are by Jacques Noel and Donate Marchand; lighting is by Didier Girard and Georges Prigent.
After the Kaye Playhouse wears Marceau's Bowler Hat, it'll get the mime artist alone, performing such vintage pieces as "The Creation of the World" and "The Maskmaker," as well as a number of New York premieres. The full Marceau engagement in New York runs Oct. 24-Nov. 12.
Marceau’s last New York appearance (his first since 1995) was a two week run at the Kaye Playhouse in March 1999. That New York stint, split into two programs, featured the American premiere of The Soliloquy of Three Poor Souls, an early piece: Bip Looks For a Job, a revival of Seven Deadly Sins (last seen in New York in 1964) and the New York premiere of Bip Remembers, a look at growing up in the beginnings of a war-torn century.
For tickets ($30-50) or more information on Marcel Marceau's engagement at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, call (212) 772 4448. Tickets to the opening night gala, Oct. 24, including the performance plus a reception with the company and a donation to the Marcel Marceau Foundation, are $125. In November 1998, Marceau received one of France's highest honors, being named a Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit. The award was presented to Marceau by French President Jacques Chirac.
-- By David Lefkowitz
and Christine Ehren