Monday, May 24, 2010

About Being a Full Person: Grace and Humanity

Hello Cal Shakes blog readers,

I want to share with you an event from the past few days. I very recently heard that one of my ex-students had entered hospice treatment for cancer, and arranged to see him at 9am yesterday. On a mad whim I emailed our own L. Peter Callender the night before, very late and said:

"A student of mine (A.) is in hospice treatment for cancer. He has been a huge fan of yours for years. I'm visiting him at 9 am in North Berkeley tomorrow. Is there the slightest chance you could make it?"

Peter immediately wrote back "yes," and set about clearing his schedule. At 9 the next morning I met him, beautifully appointed and unflappable as ever. We went to A's home together. The look on A's face was something to remember: pure joy at seeing an actor he so admires, and pure happiness at experiencing an undiluted hour of Peter's honesty and wry humor.

I keep thinking of the way our time together closed, with Peter saying: "Well my boy, I am opening a show in September and another in January. I absolutely insist that you be there. You must not fail me. I am setting aside tickets for you."

A. promised to do his best.


deeman said...

Philippa, I've been around theaters and theater people for years and have even known a dramaturg or two, but I have never really understood what they do. Could you help me out and explain your role with the company?


Hi, Deeman! Philippa went ahead and answered your question over on the ASK PHILIPPA entry: