THE SILENT TREATMENT Seventy-eight-year-old Marcel Marceau, who puts on more than two hundred pantomime shows a year around the world, will perform this month in Austin, Crockett, and Tyler .
Are you generally a quiet person even when you’re not working, or do you cut loose and talk constantly? Generally, I am not so talkative, but when I make an interview I have to talk. However, I am not a mime because I cannot talk; if I could not speak, maybe I would not be a mime.
How have your shows changed over the years? My art has to evolve. After the war, when I was very young, I was catching butterflies; I was a lion tamer. But later, when I was fifty years old, I went much deeper, remembering the time when I was a soldier and I was in the war. I think that is how I’ve kept my public faithful.
Is pantomime a philosophy of silence for you? Philosophy is a way of teaching life. What is evil? What is good? What is tragedy? What is comedy? Everything that happens has a certain philosophical sense in life.
How do you stay in good physical shape? This is my luck. I have good genes. Very often young people may see me onstage and say, “It’s not Marcel Marceau! It must be his son.” Of course, it is Marcel Marceau. But because I teach, because I keep going, I don’t feel my age. This is a secret of life.
What has been the goal of performing for you? To reach them and to move them. David Copperfield, who is a great magician, said to me, “Marcel, you make the invisible visible, but I am a magician who makes invisible the visible.” And when I create the visible through the invisible, I create a sort of magic. The audience sees a stage full of people—though I am alone.