Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Tribute To Marcel Marceau

One winter evening, some twenty or so years ago, my good friend Andrea Whitcomb asked me if I would like to accompany her to a performance of Marcel Marceau - the famed international mime - who appeared here in Rochester at the equally famous and world renown Eastman Theatre. Because Andrea was and remains such a talented performance artist in her own right - known in some parts of the world as the Singing Mime, I of course accepted her invitation.

I knew how important it was for Andrea to attend Mesuir Marceu's performance. Me? I was not into Marcel. Oh, sure - I remembered seeming him a few times on The Merv Griffin Show or The Mike Douglas Show. But I never had a true appreciation for his art - that is, until after I viewed his astounding performance for the first time in person, this night at the Eastman. The show, I believe, went on for 90 minutes or so. And there I stood, sad and stunned into, well...silence.

After the show ended, Andrea asked me if we could go out into the small alley behind the Eastman Theatre, and wait to meet Marcel and get his autograph. I said, "But of course." I knew how much meeting him would have meant to her. Thoug, I didn't think it would do anything for me.

Once more, however, I was wrong.

That said, we indeed waited in the back alley behind the Eastman Theatre. And as I further recall, it was a long wait - in the brisk cold air of that winter night. What's more, it was only the two of us. No one else in sight.

Then, after thirty minutes or so, Marcel exited - in a long dark fur coat with a pleasant smile on his face, both humbled and estatic that what appeared to be his two biggest fans in Rochester were waiting to meet him.

Andrea chatted with him a bit, he signed our programs with delight, and then walked off in the cool night air, down that long dark alley, out into the street, assumingly towards the selected
hotel in which he was booked to stay for the night.

As both Andrea and I gazed at his gait, with his back to us, his walk became surreal, as he almost appeared to disappear.

Andrea and I, neither primed for the less dramatic, took note of the scene and smiled.

Clearly, it was a magical night, as Marcel Marceau was a magical performer. He had a magical walk, on and off stage.

And now, Mesuir Marcel Marceau has passed away into spirit. He has walked down the dark alley of life and stage for the last time, and yet happily, into the bright, white and ever so peaceful and silent - Light.

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