In lieu of my usual advice/opinion column this week, I wish to acknowledge the death and life, of a very theatre oriented person. A former professor of mine, Ron Loreman, though to his students, he was known as simply R.L.
R.L. died just a few days ago.
When I went to Marietta College, 1999-2002, R.L. was the chairman of the Theatre Department, (and had been for some time.) He also taught classes of course, and directed a few shows each season.
I was never in any of R.L.'s shows. I did not take any of his classes until my final year at MC. Yet, one could not be a part of the theatre community at Marietta, without knowing, and getting to know, R.L.
Whether he was teaching a class, helping to design and build the set for someone else's show, or just watching one of the shows as a member of the audience, R.L. could be summarized in one word; warm. The personal kindness of the man, and his overall decency was inextricably linked with the work that he did. Work that he very obviously enjoyed doing, and was blessed to be able to do for nearly 5 decades.
I think that is the greatest testament to the man, for me. Unlike some of my fellow students, I did not have the most personal or emotional relationship with R.L. Yet, I could not help but admire the love he showed in the two things he was most involved in, (outside of his family); educating, and theatre. How blessed the man was to be able to both be an educator, and take part in theatre for the lion's share of his life. I could not read his mind, but if the nearly constant smile upon his face was any indication, R.L. was happy to be doing what he was doing. And I was happy to have been a part of it for those few years.
I particularly remember the class I took with him, (which happened to be the very last credit college course I ever took). Studies in Asian Drama. I was struck by how much passion for that genre, and that culture he had. It rubbed off in class, as I think that was my favorite R.L. course that I took, (though I only took four, in the end.)
So, my thoughts and meditations go out to his family. And my gratitude goes out to him.