Sunday, October 07, 2007

This Just In! -- Marceau fans preventing coroner, family from taking body; Believes it could be new routine

Officials frustrated as throng stakes out front of home, many in white face and mime costumes, waiting

By J. Thomas Duffy

Going on two-weeks after Marcel Marceau's death, huge throngs of fans, from all over France, and as far away as Japan and New Zealand, have blocked the Marceau family, and the Paris Coroner's office, from taking the body, believing the acclaimed master mime "is just working on a new routine".

The fans and supporters have taken to working in shifts, with food and supplies curried in for those keeping vigil.

"I believe," said one fan, in broken English, "that he is protesting war... It has been a very powerful statement."

French officials are frustrated, as the crowd continues to grow, causing additional problems of traffic, and thousands of mimes, some accomplished and talented, others still working on their craft, annoying neighbors and local businesses.

Many, along with being in white face and black clothing, have taken to wearing a floppy top hat, with red flower, as worn by Marceau's best-known character, Bip.

Newly-elected French President Nicholas Sarkozy has made one appearance (however, his wife snubbed the mimes), appealing to the massive crowd, attempting to convince them that Marceau has, indeed, passed away, and that they should all leave.

Even former U.S. Senator Bill Frist was brought in, telling the crowd that, after viewing hours of videotape, he believes the famed mime is deceased.

There is discussions, and disagreement, between the French officials, on whether to bring in American actor and comic, Jerry Lewis, to see if he can disperse the crowd.

Lewis, whose work is revered in France, is sometimes referred to as the "French people's favourite clown", and has received France's highest civilian honor, the Legion of Honor Award.

Marceau, 84, died on 22 September, after a long, distinguished career, much it at the top of his field.

As reported by the BBC:

"Marceau was credited with single-handedly reviving the art of mime after World War II, after two decades of being eclipsed by the silent movie.

Marceau was inspired to become a mime by the great Hollywood actors of the silent era such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harry Langdon.

His Compagnie Marcel Marceau was the only mime troupe in the world in the 1950s and 1960s - it enjoyed as much acclaim abroad as at home."

Sources tell The Garlic that contingency plans are being made, with, possibly, a mime made up to look like Marceau, will come to the window, thank the crowd and encourage them all to go home.

As one local official griped, "I don't know why they didn’t do that on the first day... We could have avoided all of this."

There are also rumors that French officials are negotiating with those keeping vigil, on conducing a "mime funeral", however it is not clear if that would be acted out in mime, or, if a real burial will occur. Reports have surfaced on other tensions in the talks, such as will talking be allowed at the service and which color clothing should the mourners wear -- black or white?.

More as this story develops.


Obituary: Marcel Marceau - Legendary mime artist Marcel Marceau, who has died aged 84, captivated the world for decades.

Do the French really love Jerry Lewis?

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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