A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by ApplauseeBook - 2017
"Threading the subtle seam between what lives and what remains, A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause succeeds in conjuring the poetry of Marcel Marceau's performance as both a character on stage and in history. . . . Like pulling a ghost from a dark room, this is an accomplished work of historical portraiture: precise in its objects, complex in its melancholy, and insightful in its humor." --Thalia Field
Part biographic inquiry, part lyric portraiture, radio producer Shawn Wen reanimates world-renowned mime Marcel Marceau's silent art.
The book opens in darkness, a single figure standing in the spotlight. It's Marceau in his signature hat, painted face, black clothes, and ballet slippers. Over time, the text accumulates objects: dolls, paintings, icons, wives, children, cities, and performances. By turns whimsical and melancholic, this spare volume takes shape through capsule histories, interview clips, vivid scenes, and archival research.
Shawn Wen is a writer, radio producer, and multimedia artist. Her writing has appeared in The New Inquiry, The Seneca Review, The Iowa Review, The White Review , and the anthology City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis (Faber and Faber, 2015). Her radio work broadcasts regularly on This American Life, Freakonomics Radio , and Marketplace . She is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Professional Journalism Training Fellowship and the Royce Fellowship.