I’ve gotten a wild hair up me arse and decided I wanted to write some things about friends of mine. The list isn’t horrendously long (if you know me you know why) but since all of these folks have had, at the very least, a large impact on who I am today I thought it might be a nice homage to give them each their own little official Constuct biography. None of the ‘constuctologies’ will be particular long, some shorter than other’s but whatever the case, all of them rank at the top.
So, that said, we’ll start with Ben. No reason why really, but we must start somewhere.
My friendship with Ben started back in the spring of ’98. I’d seen him fall of ’97 in a rather dull production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Ben was the one big standout in the show, despite the fact that he was playing one of the players (they’re mostly mute.) So in ’98 when I was involved in a production of Richard II and Richard III in rep, I sought Ben out to get him in the show.
The rest as they say, is history (that pun will become apparent later when I caption the photo in this post.)
Ben spent the next five or six years working with the theatre company of which I had been blessed to be the Artistic Director. He was a consummate worker and a gifted artist and to watch his craft hone itself more and more over the years (from the Chief in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, to the Complete HISTORY (see, pun explained) of America Abridged to 12th Night (in which he arguably stole the show as Sir Andrew Aguechek) was a true pleasure.
Are last venture together was Ben’s directorial debut, True West. I cannot say enough about how amazing this show was, how strong of a director Ben was, and about how sure and refined his vision had been. And all in a debut. It was, what I hope, has become an endeavor he will continue to pursue. He was extremely gifted as an actor and in one directorial instant proved he might even be more gifted as a director.
Ben has moved to New York. We don’t talk as regularly as we used to see each other. Occasionally an email will go out and I’ll hear from him about one thing he’s working on or another. It doesn’t really matter though. Ben had a lasting impact on my craft and my spirit. He was always enthusiastic, dedicated to working his butt off to be as good as he possibly could. Even when egos clashed and ids rebelled Ben was always working toward the whole.
It was a great privilege to have worked with him for so long. Perhaps someday in the future we may work again. In the meantime, I’ll watch from afar, wait for those small contacts (and make a few of my own as well) and wait for the day (because surely it must be inevitable) that our paths will cross again and we can watch magic made.