After an extended solo run at Cambridge, MA's American Repertory Theatre, the world's most famous mime, Marcel Marceau, returned to New York with his company in tow. The first week of Marceau’s visit (Oct. 24 29) was devoted to “The Bowler Hat,” performed with his troupe. The following two weeks, ending Nov. 12, were given over to his solo performances, including the U.S. premiere of "Bip and the Tragedian's Beard" and such vintage pieces as "The Creation of the World" and "The Maskmaker," as well as a number of New York premieres.
A mime comedy about a London treasury clerk with a Walter Mitty-like psyche, the aforementioned Bowler Hat was written and directed by Marceau and featured a cast of 12 playing more than 50 roles. Isabelle Serrand contributed original music to the piece, featuring the performers of La Nouvelle Compagnie de Mimodrame Marcel Marceau. Sets and costumes were by Jacques Noel and Donate Marchand; lighting by Didier Girard and Georges Prigent.
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.
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