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"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.