Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blue Monday

What a sad Monday.  Lights were dimmer  and laughter softer yesterday as we learned of the passing of two theatre comrades - Rick Klein and Robin Williams.  As the hurt subsides, Rick's lights will brighten again and laughter will rise from deep in our bellies.

I had the opportunity to work with Rick often starting when he was in high school working as a  roadie for Studio 1615.  He hung lights and set up sound for many of my student productions at Valders, and (although I am a little embarrassed to admit this ) he teched a couple Miss Manitowoc  Pageants where I acted as assistant director.  (Stop laughing!  I can hear you.).

Rick was a typical techie.  I say that with the utmost respect for those who add the magical layer of lighting and sound to productions that would be flat without those components.  The routine was always the same.  I would outline for him what I was looking for - mood, color, blends, shifts, intensity....he indulged me for however long it took to me to explain.  Then it was Rick's turn.  He never took notes, but remembered everything - and, in a flash, he told me why most of what I wanted was impossible.  Each time, the conversation ended with me near tears, my exit line being "OK then, just do it".  And he did.  For hours, Rick labored until finally, all was accomplished.  He was proud.  I was happy.  That's the way it always
went.  We both knew it.  The game got easier over the years, but the rules never changed.  Miss you, Rick.

Robin Williams.  Such a tornado of creativity.  How much fun would it have been to spend just one hour in person with this guy?  Unlike so many screen personalities, Williams had great range, using his manic style where appropriate, but when needed he was vulnerable and caring.  He also played sinister in a disturbingly realistic way, partially because that attribute was totally unexpected of our lovable Mork.  It was through this range of possibilities that we got to know him better.  He came into our living rooms as a player in a story, and after a few years of movies, TV shows and honest interviews, he left as a friend.

So, I'm thinking we all need a little happiness and luckily, this documentary is showing on PBS this Wednesday at 8:30
  • HAPPY takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.
    - Written by Wadi Rum Films, Inc

And when you're done.....

Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worries on the doorstep
Just direct your feet
To the sunny side of the street.
Thanks for stopping by.

"Barbecuing Hamlet" September 12 and 13 at UW-Manitowoc.