Marcel Marceau Project

Faculty and Staff
Jeanine Thompson,Project Leader, Faculty, Department of Theatre
Alex Oliszewski, Faculty, Department of Theatre, ACCAD
Janet Parrott, Faculty, Department of Theatre
Jen Shlueter, Faculty, Department of Theatre
Brad Steinmetz, Faculty, Department of Theatre
Vita Berezina-Blackburn,Staff, ACCAD

Students
Thomas Heban (GRA),MFA Department of Design
Sheri Larrimer (GRA),MFA Department of Design
Sifiso Mazibuko, MFA Actor, Department of Theatre
Melonie Mazibuko,  MFA Actor, Department of Theatre
Patrick Wiabel,  MFA Actor, Department of Theatre
Sarah Ware,  MFA Actor, Department of Theatre
Natalie Cagle, MFA Costume Designer, Department of Theatre,
Andy Baker, MFA Lighting, Department of Theatre

Additional early development of live mocap performance process by MFA Acting ensemble:
Camille Bullock, Meg Chamberlain, Jane Elliott, Aaron Lopez, Sifiso Mazibuko, Melonie Mazibuko, Brent Ries

Summary
The Marcel Marceau Project was an interdisciplinary multimedia research project that culminated in April 2014 with a live performance based on the life and work of the French mime artist, Marcel Marceau, titled There Is No Silence, a Mime and Movement Theatre Symposium, and an exhibit of Marcel Marceau memorabilia. This was a partnership and collaboration between The Ohio State University’s Department of Theatre and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) by faculty and staff members and graduate students. 

The process of devising the play allowed for the script to be developed alongside with physical theatre experimentation. Motion capture technology was incorporated in the process of training in the mime technique. The unique performance data of Marcel Marceau collected at ACCAD's Motion Capture Lab in 2001 became a foundation for learning the pantomime "At the Bar". The actors were also able to capture their own versions of the pantomime and compare it to Marceau's own performance combined in the same virtual space. This experience allowed the students to observe nuances of timing and make creative decisions about expressive choices and variations on Marceau's original work that found its way into one of the scenes in the play.

 

The group also developed a series of virtual environments with which actors interacted as live virtual avatars. This was made possible by setting up the Vicon mocap system on stage and incorporating mocap sensors into the costumes of two actors. The live feed from Vicon drove characters and environments via Autodesk Motionbuilder. In several scenes additional compositing of silhouette and other animated projections were composited live in Isadora. The visual design of the scenes was based on paintings and lithographs of Marceau himself.

Other aspects of experimentation with live motion tracking involved designing performance animation setups for a few digital puppets. They were animated in realtime by actors who manipulated physical props with incorporated mocap sensors. Originally planned as live puppeteering of a simplified facial rig using a physical prop, facial performance was ultimately pre-recorded via Kinect sensor and Faceshift software. It was used in the show as a series of recorded clips triggered in real time by the video projection operator.