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There is No Silence: A Fantasia Inspired by the Great French Mime Artist Marcel Marceau

Marcel Marceau’s alter-ego “Bip” will come to life on stage when Ohio State presents the technologically groundbreaking, collaborative production of “There is No Silence,” a devised new work inspired by the great French mime artist. The series of sketches inspired by the late Marceau, who was in residence at Ohio State in 1995, 1998 and 2001, and received an honorary doctorate in 1999, will be staged April 3-13 in Thurber Theatre, Drake Performance and Event Center.

When Marcel was at Ohio State, the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) used motion capture technology to record his selected signature movements. This production marks the first time that recorded archival and real-time motion capture in combination with digital projections have been used to train actors. This set-up helped the Department of Theatre’s MFA actors learn Marceau’s unique pantomimes.

It also marks the first time live motion capture will be used during a large-scale performance at Ohio State. Actors will be fitted with motion capture “markers” and ACCAD’s optical motion capture system will be set up on the stage, where the actors will perform in front of the audience. The actors’ virtual avatars – some that will look like Marceau’s stage character Bip – will be driven by the actor’s movements and will be projected above the stage, interacting with a variety of virtual environments – such as Paris -- based on Marceau’s paintings.

The audience will see both the physical actor on stage and the live motion capture tracking projected on different screens in real time. One of the sketches features a duet of a live actor interacting with a recorded Marceau.

Background
Devised by MFA Acting Cohort
Script by Jennifer Schlueter with Max Glenn
Production Environment created by Vita Berezina-Blackburn, Alex Oliszewski, Janet Parrott, Tom Heban, Sheri Larrimer
In partnership with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD)
Conceived and Directed by Jeanine Thompson

Dates:
Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 5 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 6 at 3 p.m.
Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 13 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Location:
Thurber Theatre, Drake Performance and Event Center, 1849 Cannon Dr.

Description:
The Department of Theatre at The Ohio State University, in partnership with Ohio State’s Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), announces the world premiere of There Is No Silence, inspired by the great French mime artist Marcel Marceau. There Is No Silence is a kaleidoscopic fantasia that playfully investigates Marcel Marceau’s history, passions, and significance in a vibrant performance that fuses text with mime, dance with theatre, personal reflection with archival truth, and the ridiculous with the transcendent. It will be performed in a richly mediated environment, featuring animation, projection, and live motion capture.

There Is No Silence is conceived and directed by Associate Professor Jeanine Thompson, who trained extensively with Marceau himself and is one of his key American legacy holders. With the mentorship of Assistant Professor Jennifer Schlueter, the piece was devised by a cohort of MFA actors, MFA designers, and MA/PhD students. Its projected environment has been built in collaboration with Vita Berezina-Blackburn (animation specialist, ACCAD), Tom Heban (MFA design), Sheri Larrimer (MFA design), Alex Oliszewski (assistant professor, theatre and ACCAD), and Janet Parrott (associate professor, theatre).

From the standpoint of performance technologies this project focused on incorporating live and several types of pre-recorded motion capture in the appearance of the projected environments. The developed platform was also utilized in the devising process as well as training the actors with the motion capture data collected of Marceau during his visit to Ohio State in 2001.

There Is No Silence draws from the extensive Marcel Marceau archive held by the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute at Ohio State. Its run will be accompanied by a lobby exhibition of Marceau ephemera, as well as a symposium, “Making the Invisible Visible: Mime’s Contemporary Legacy”, on April 11.

Ticket Information:
Tickets $20 general public; $18 Ohio State faculty, staff, Alumni Association members, senior citizens; $15 students and children. Tickets may be purchased at the Theatre Box Office, 1849 Cannon Dr. Call (614) 292-2295 or go to theatre.osu.edu.

Cast:
Trixie Marbles.................................................................. Jane Elliott
Bip, Marceau’s Creation................................................................... Sarah Ware
Aurelia Marceau............................................................Camille Bullock
Anne Sicco............................................................... Melonie Mazibuko
Marcel Marceau.............. Aaron Lopez, Sifiso Mazibuko, Brent Ries and Patrick Wiabel

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