Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lee Deal
Today I learned that an acquaintance, a collaborator from long ago, died in May.

I met Lee Deal when we were both in a production of "Murder Among Friends" twenty-five years ago. At that time Lee was a young red haired exuberant. He would have been a difficult man to hide - large of body and loud of laugh. Perhaps if he didn't laugh so much you could have hidden him, but he probably would have found the idea laughable. He was not to be hidden. He belonged on stage.

Lee had been on stage many times before that production. It was my first. People in Huntsville knew him, and would come to see him in a play. No one knew me. Yet Lee helped me feel welcome on his stage, helped me feel that my lines were as important as his, helped me feel that the people sitting in the dark wanted to hear my voice as much as his.

In the twenty-five years since that show closed Lee has done many more turns on stage. I have done none. Lee became a fixture in the theatre life of Huntsville, and I have wandered widely. From time to time during my travels I have met others who have, like Lee, allowed me to feel welcome, important, and wanted.

To all of those, and especially to Lee, I tender my gratitude for the generous way in which you have shared your stage with a stranger.

Perhaps there is yet another stage we may share. Until then, Goodbye, Lee.