Sunday, October 26, 2014

Marcel Marceau



My sister as a kid was fascinated with French mime Marcel Marceau. I was like, Speechlessness? No, thank you.  I preferred constant burbling neurosis, the early work of Woody Allen, which was my particular talent.

But my mother took both of us to see Marceau at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh sometime in the evening of the '70s when I was still young enough in-between the acts to rub the soles of my black patent leather mary-janes on the crimson carpet (it was a bordello of red an gold in there) and give my sister a big spark, and hand to mouth Milk Duds.


I still associate their caramel-flavor with stage-life grandeur. The richly draping curtains. The cut-crystal chandeliers. The bing-bong-bong descending scale that let you know intermission (otherwise known as Milk Dud eatin' time) was over.  I think I have some synethesia. I believe I can taste the sound of the smell of the brown velvet sweetheart-neckline dress I was wearing.


Of course, Marceau did his famous trapped-in-a-box-that-doesn't-exist routine. Instead of being all distracted like I usually was, like, dang the taffeta crinoline of this dress is itchy, or why did I eat those Milk Duds so fast? Or, is anyone I know here?  I was moved.  I started sniffling and wiping my nose on the sleeve of my fancy dress. My mom handed me the hanky from her pocketbook.


My sister after the show, was so ensorcerelled she mimed her way into a collision with a parking meter. I didn't laugh at her; how could I? I was still clutching the hanky.


Because of this foundational memory, I recently bought myself a clown nose. It's a red foam job. It smells like Halloween pop-up mall store floor, of our current global commerce in trivialities, but wearing it is my extrêmement petit homage to Marcel Marceau who said, "It's good to shut up sometimes."



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