Master Mime

Thanks to Marcel Marceau, you can't walk down certain urban streets in certain parts of the world without tripping over some silent guy in whiteface frantically palming the air, trying to push down the walls of an imaginary box. It's not Marceau's fault, really: He was simply too good at his craft, and couldn't help inspiring others to follow his quiet but expressive lead. Even people who've never seen him do “Walking Against the Wind” know exactly what it looks like, since the exercises he created throughout his career have served as physical primers for aspiring mimes. Inspired by Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp, Marceau created Bip (or Beep, if you're French), a lovable mute clown in ragged dandy clothing. Bip's butterfly-chasing, train-hopping, lion-taming adventures are a marvel of physical control and the surprising power of gestures to convey moods. Bip turned 50 this year, and Marceau, who first toured the States in 1955, brings him to life at an anniversary show beginning at 3 p.m. at the Marin Center, Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Admission is $20-30; call 472-3500.

— Heather Wisner

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