I was exposed to theater at an early age, but of all the performers I saw live or on television, Marcel Marceau, who died on Saturday, is the first one I remember by name.
I think that because Marcel Marceau became such a cultural icon, in some ways he has become almost invisible. When you think "mime" his characters are the ones that spring to mind, and yet, I wonder if most people understand the depth of his work.
Like so, so many of his generation, Marcel Marceau was affected by the Holocaust. His father was killed in Auschwitz, and Marcel and his brother Alain were active in the French Resistance.
I was struck by something I heard recently, that how in the not-so-terribly-distant-future, there will be nobody alive who lived through the Second World War, and our understanding of it will no longer be transmitted by people who experienced it, first-hand.
Will we understand the powerful, political and poignant work of Marcel Marceau, or will we only be vaguely aware of him as a some guy in a black and white costume who struggled to escape from an invisible cage?