Theatre review: “There Is No Silence” gives voice to mime master’s art

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From the April 10, 2014 edition

Anyone creeped out by mimes should steer clear of OSU’s Thurber Theatre through April 13. But those who revel in “the poetry of the gesture” are in for a treat. “There Is No Silence: A Fantasia Inspired by the Great French Mime Artist Marcel Marceau,” conceived and directed by the master’s disciple and longtime OSU faculty member Jeanine Thompson, serves as a gift both to his memory and to the audience.

Considering the taciturnity of Marceau’s art, the OSU production accurately exemplifies its title, giving voice to each of its eight Master of Fine Arts acting candidates; included are personal anecdotes from all of the candidates, Marceau’s biography, his place in the history of the moving arts, his philosophy and teaching.

Four men — Aaron Michael Lopez, Sifiso Mazibuko, Brent Ries and Patrick Wiabel — portray Marceau. Thanks to motion-capture done during the third of Marceau’s OSU residencies in 2001, the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design enables Ries to perform an interactive duet with the late mime and for others of the cast to project into his illustrations.

Melonie Mazibuko gives life to Marceau’s wife and partner, Anne Sicco. Camille Bullock plays Marceau’s daughter and student, Aurelia. Jane Elliott is the audience’s irreverent guide and commentator, Trixie Marbles, who occasionally gives the impression that the play is about her and not Marceau.

Sarah Ware deserves particular attention as Marceau’s white-faced alter ego, Bip. Given that Marceau had declared neither women nor people of color were “neutral” enough to do whiteface, he might have been speechless.

Photo by Matt Hazard

Camille Bullock as Aurelia Marceau and Sifiso Mazibuko as Marcel Marceau in The Ohio State University Department of Theatre’s production of “There Is No Silence.”