In the last month, three theatre-related people I know have passed away. Two of them I knew well, and I'll memorialise them (I didn't know Jasan Savage well, so I feel inadequate in memorialising him.)
James Waites took his last swim at Coogee Beach on 12/2/2014. I met him only a year ago, though I'd been reading his work much longer than that. I read his contentious run of reviews on the Sydney Morning Herald and The Bulletin, and I started reading his intermittent but fascinating writings on jameswaites.com, and occasionally entering into the brawling in the comments. It was one such contact in the comments where I mentioned I wouldn't be able to see the sold-out Canberra season of "The Secret River" ... where James kindly contacted me and offered me a ticket if I was prepared to host him for a night. I did, we saw it, the review is on this site for anybody who cares to read it ... and we had extensive conversations about theatre, about life, about what he'd seen and experienced, about the world he'd lived through, his current work recording interviews for the National Library, about his involvement with Mardi Gras and about, inevitably, his health problems. I later got a chance to drop round his place in Surry Hills a few times, and to host him again for the July production of "Hipbone Sicking Out". He mattered hugely to me.
Naoné Carrel I'd known for over 7 years. It probably comes as no surprise to readers of the blog that, yes, I do have an association with Canberra Repertory. And Naoné is a key reason why that association went from "vaguely liking their shows and appearing on stage finally in one of them" to "ending up doing all kinds of things with them from crewing to front of house to a brief run of set building". She spread the invitation gratefully and made it impossible for me to consider anywhere else my natural Canberra Theatre home. She engaged, she cajoled, she occasionally micromanaged but she cared deeply and fiercely. Losing her is a loss that will undoubtedly be shared by many.