Marcel Marceau, “How I worked in the French Resistance and Created Bip as a Figure of Hope,” Michigan Quarterly Review, 41, no. 1 (Winter 2002) https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?cc=mqr;c=mqr;c=mqrarchive;idno=act2080.0041.111;g=mqrg;rgn=main;view=text;xc=1
a lightly edited transcript of the speech delivered extempore, in English, by Marcel Marceau upon receiving the Raoul Wallenberg Medal on April 30, 2001, at the University of Michigan.
Life is ephemeral, but also eternal because new generations come. We have a great responsibility for the legacy we have to give. And I say always to my students: If you don’t have a past, then you have no present and you have a fragile future.” We have to keep the traditions. We have to know that all nations have the right to live and carry on their legacy. This is why we have to pray for peace, so that our millennium now will be less cruel than the twentieth century. This is why with mime I create metaphors with the hands, a struggle between good and evil. And I will show you this tonight because I will end with a pantomime, of course.
For the first time in Bip Remembers,” Bip goes out of his character to become not himself, but humanity. At the end of Bip Remembers” there is a march of humanity. A wave comes, and they are killed. Then another wave comes and they are killed too. Then the last wave arrives and they march to enlightenment. It’s not just a word. I believe in action. When there will be wars, there will be no age d’or, as we say. The time in which we have no more wars, life will offer a real hope for the future. Don’t be frightened that there will be too many people. There are never too many people.