Bip in a Book
Stewart, Tabori, & Chang
By Bruce Goldstone ’84 and Marcel Marceau
October 1, 2001
Marcel Marceau's genius for the art of silence has astonished and delighted audiences of all ages for more than 50 years. Bip is Marceau's beloved alter ego, a hapless clown with unlimited curiosity and compassion. Since his debut in 1947, Bip has bravely explored every imaginable location, from a skating rink to a lion cage. But he has never been trapped inside the pages of a book... until now. In Bip in a Book, this richly evocative drama is reinterpreted for a new generation. Once again Marceau's famous innocent is trapped, but this time he is confined not by an imaginary cage, but by a page. Dressed in his signature striped pullover and battered opera hat, Bip is happily oblivious to his plight until he walks smack into the right edge of the page. As the reader turns the pages, Bip's imaginative exploration of this unexpected situation is told through 32 vivid photographs, each underscoring Marceau's outstanding gift of expression. Anyone who loves the theater will cherish these playful photographs of a modern master at work, but even readers who have never seen Bip will be drawn to the creativity and suspense of this one-of-a-kind story.
ReviewsFrom Publishers Weekly
This ingenious square volume makes brilliant use of both the great mime's talents and the idea of the book as a physical object. Fans of Marceau will recognize one of his most famous pieces, "The Cage," taken to a new level here. The opening spreads feature a seemingly fathomless glossy black background on the left as, opposite, the inventive mime plays out his drama, photographed against a crisp white background. As Marceau approaches readers, he comes up against an invisible wall, which he indicates with hands outspread; in the next photos, he moves toward the right-hand edge of the page, eventually coming to a dead-end there as well. But here's where he expands on his work in "The Cage": he next begins to "climb" the edge of the page until he hits the "ceiling," or top edge of the page. Rothfeld's photos brilliantly create a cinematic effect: Marceau first loses his hat to gravity, then loses his own tenuous hold, falling (over several spreads) to the bottom of the page. This whole sequence leads to a cleverly imagined interplay with the mysterious blackness that has hitherto remained confined to the left of each spread. Marceau begins to get sucked into the darkness, saves himself, but loses his hat into the black vastness. Much playfulness prevails as Marceau finds a way to retrieve his chapeau. For the uninitiated, this thoughtfully conceived volume is an ideal introduction to the art of mime at its finest; for Marceau's followers, it is a must. All ages.