Gregg Goldston performing his original solo piece ‘Digits’.
Gregg Goldston has performed for over 35 years as a professional mime artist. Having worked with the master Marcel Marceau for over 20 years, he brings to his art a refined sense of professional talent. In this interview Gregg talks about his work, mime history and his relationship with Marcel Marceau.
I met Richmond a few times during mime performances he did that I photographed. I always wanted to do an interview with him but we never met up. I knew many students of his that became members of his company. I had bought his book when I was studying mime in the late 1970’s. I think he deserves some serious attention by academics regarding his historical place in the time line of mime history in America. Below is a brief history of his achievements.
Richmond Shepard (born 24 April 1929 in New York City Died July 2, 2019) was an American writer, director, producer and mime with a 50-year history in entertainment. He was one of the oldest living working mimes in show business. He built, owned and operated his own theaters in Los Angeles on Theatre Row where he produced over 30 shows. He moved to New York and worked as a theatre and film critic for WNEW, conceived and directed the off-Broadway show Noo Yawk Tawk at The Village Gate for three years. He has traveled across the world performing with mime troupes and performs improvisational comedy in various clubs around NYC as of March 2011. Richmond Shepard’s most recent role was when he played the “Sandman” in Fuzz on the Lens Productions fantasy comedy “Abnormal Attraction” starring Malcolm McDowell, Bruce Davison, Leslie Easterbrook, and Gilbert Gottfried which was released on February 26th 2019
Carlo Mazzone-Clementi (12 December 1920 – 5 November 2000) was a performer and founder of two schools of commedia, mime and physical theater as well as a contemporary and colleague of leaders of modern European theater. From his arrival in the USA in 1957, he was largely responsible for the spreading of commedia dell’arte in North America.
While he was performing with Piccolo Teatro as well as teaching in Rome, the American theatre scholar and director Eric Bentley came to Italy to direct the Padua Players company in the first Italian production of Bertolt Brecht. Then, with Bentley’s patronage, Mazzone-Clementi toured the United States in 1958, conducting workshops in mime and commedia, and introducing the leather masks of Amleto Sartori to this country. That led to a teaching assignment at theCarnegie Institute of Technology, followed by Brandeis University, the University of California at Berkeley, the American Conservatory Theater and others. He was known as Carlo Mazzone until 1965 when he worked with the new acting ensemble at the Theatre of Lincoln Center. From then on he was known as Carlo Mazzone-Clementi. Clementi was the name of his mother and his grandfather, Girolamo Clementi, who was versed in the work of Paduan playwright and forerunner of commedia dell’arte, Angelo Beolco, known as “Ruzzante.”
In 1972, Mazzone-Clementi and his wife Jane Hill, a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon, went to Humboldt County, California to conduct summer workshops at their rural property. From this experience came the decision to re-locate permanently in Humboldt and to establish a full-time actor training program. In 1974, the couple purchased the Oddfellows Hall in Blue Lake, California and co-founded the Dell’Arte School of Mime and Comedy, now known as theDell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Hill also joined the faculty at College of the Redwoods, where the pair created the Grand Comedy Festival at Qual-a-wa-loo, a summer repertory festival that produced plays of Shakespeare in rotation with musical adaptations of those plays; Mazzone-Clementi served as the festival’s artistic director for six years. In 1974 their article, “Commedia and the Actor” was published in The Drama Review TDR (journal).
Mazzone-Clementi moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1984 and founded a second sister theater school there, named the Commedia School. In 1994 returned to California and continued teaching until shortly before his death on 5 November 2000 in San Francisco.
I will post another ‘special’ edition on Carlo (with additional photographs taken in the studio) in 2017 with interviews with Hovey Burgess, Stanley Allan Sherman and a few others who knew him well.
Marcel Marceau performs in William Castle’s 1974 horror film about puppetry.
A revenge-driven puppeteer applies his talent to humans in this supernatural horror film.
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“Shanks is a 1974 American horror film about a puppeteer able to manipulate dead bodies like puppets. Mime Marcel Marceau, in his first major film role, plays the titular Malcolm Shanks. It was the last film directed by producer-director William Castle. Marceau, who had for decades before performed in his signature white face makeup and without speaking, both spoke and appeared without makeup for this film. He played two roles: Malcolm Shanks, who could not speak, and Old Walker, who could. He had appeared in 20 shorts and films in small and cameo roles, often as his mime character Bip. Director William Castle took an interest in him after watching him perform the pantomime “Youth, Maturity, Old Age and Death” and approached him with the script for Shanks, saying it dealt with similar themes. Said Marceau of the script, “it was exactly what I had been looking for.”
Marcel Marceau teaches a workshop in mime at City Center.
Presenting a gesture to the class of students at City Center.
One of the moments while explaining the mime technique he was teaching.
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COMMENTS BY MARCEL MARCEAU STUDENTS
Gregg Goldston and Marcel Marceau
I worked closely with Marcel Marceau for 21 years. I was fortunate enough to not only study under him, but later perform as an Assistant for his One Man show, and play a lead role in his final Company production that played in Boston in 2004. Having hosted five 2-week Marceau Summer Intensives at my School for Mimes in Ohio that spanned from 1986 to 1995, I watched how his teach evolved in his later years.
By the time of this workshop Jim Moore photographed at City Center, Marceau was at the peak of his teaching. This was due his efforts to codify “his” grammar that he had developed throughout his career, but had never completely organized. This effort made his teaching much clearer, and also enabled him to structure more complex material into the adagios he presented in classes. During these years, the work moved beyond technical, illusionary work and more towards mime acting studies.
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For me, the most valuable part of being in the classroom with him, (and what should be able to be studied in Moore’s photos here) is the analysis of his style from various angles. Meaning this: Looking at Marceau from the front – you see only the magic. Looking at Marceau from the side, you see the work. Note that his balance points are always on his heels, keeping his weight “off of his toes” like where a dancer would balance. This technique which moves from the “floor up – out through the arm – then into the public’s lap” is what I call “The Marceau.” He told me he invented this style of stage projection by combining what he learned from Chaplin with the fact that he had to perform solo on a stage for 3,000 people a night.
Gregg Goldston, Mime
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To Marcel Marceau Master of Silence
Marcel Marceau was not only world renowned but such a giving teacher and director with endless energy and passion for the art form. He so generously offered his mastery; expressing shifts of emotion and character, quality of movement and a flying spirit that continues to touch hearts and embrace the world audience. He is missed dearly. I had the great gift of being a student of the master mime .
It was a one day workshop with Marcel Marceau in at City Center 1999. There were about 75 of us there. Mimes came from all over the country. Here was another opportunity to spend the day with the Master of Mime. All of us were diligently warming up in the studio getting sweaty and stretching and exercising to prep for the workshop. There were acrobats, dancers, actors and experienced mimes as well…. students with varying physical backgrounds..
He came in and stood watching us. I looked at him closely. His feet, already in a graceful fourth position, shifted slightly as if to embrace the ground, and with a gentle breath his upper body seemed to expand to fill the room. He made an almost imperceptible back tilt with his upper body . His chest and rib cage and his heart expanded. He was already energized. That was it for him. He took the stage. He filled the space.
He showed us greed and joy and fear and every emotion. His clear motions came from inside out — from deep within and the entire room seemed to change color as he changed his expression. I was standing only 3 feet in front of him. Seeing him so close up was such an inspiring experience. I try to express the emotion as he does it… From toes to fingertips, arms, legs, body, face – but physicality was not the way.. “Immmpossssible!!” he said when I just didn’t get it . And he showed us again – his physical body expressed greed as if saturated by the inner emotion … and as I watched him , the world kept changing colors in front of my eyes. It was much more than motion. He shifted the entire atmosphere.