Lance - In Memoriam
Though we continue to mourn our beloved Founding Artistic Director, Lance Hewett, we're determined to carry on the theatre company he loved and led for 20 years. Here he is in 2001 in Las Vegas a week after 9/11, when he and Bryan Williams first conceived Occupation: Dragonslayer -- one of his few ventures out into the sun!
BACK TO HOME
Our beloved and charismatic Artistic Director, Lance Hewett, passed away quietly and unexpectedly on Friday night, February 6, 2015. At his wake, many of his friends and family spoke spontaneously and movingly about how much he meant to them, but for all the love that was in the room, it was a melancholy occasion.On Saturday night April 18 we had a different kind of gathering, not to mourn his loss (though the sadness remains), but to celebrate his life. A few who were not able to share their memories of him spoke, and we presented an hour or so tribute to his life’s work with musical and dramatic selections from a few of the productions that were particularly meaningful to him.
Lance was a man of many adjectives (preferably alliterative) -- remember the "radically realized, tempestuous, tilted" love quintet that was "Edward the Second" or the "maddening majesty, mystery and misery" of love from "Falling in Love with Love"? Here are some adjectives his many friends used to describe him:
Nurturing, festive, professional, passionate, kind, inventive, loyal, gifted, sincere, talented, perfectionist, spunky, determined, animated, unique, lovable, brilliant, nitpicky, generous, infuriating, loving, inspirational, spirited, supportive, extra-ordinarily multi-talended, caring, alive, warm, loving, respectful, dedicated, consummate-all-around-theatre-person, sweet, fervent, fiery (fired up!)
Two words appeared over and over again: kind and passionate.
Here are some of your other comments:
Lance was one of the most caring, dedicated, and passionate directors of the theater that I've ever met. He was a brilliant advocate for even the youngest actors and he had the highest standards.
It is indeed a great loss for the world of Theatre, but more importantly for the Human Race. Lance electrified the world with his presence, and navigated through it with boundless compassion and vision. He was a paragon of DEDICATION.
I remember how he would look me in the eye when he smiled, how kind and gentle he was, how he would do anything to make someone more comfortable, and make everyone think they were the most important person in the room.
I was profoundly touched by Lance's beauty and spirit. I will forever cherish his unending generosity and compassion. He was one of the most genuinely tender-hearted individuals I have ever known. I was proud to be his collaborator and his friend.
I am so thankful for the light and laughter that he brought into my life.
He was truly 'obsessed' with theatre -- in a good way.
I never met a person like Lance, so full of enthusiasm, love to humans and to his mission, his creativity to make theatre that can move something in the world. He was so full of generosity and imagination and sometimes his vision seemed crazy, but only by this he left all borders and limitations behind.
I've only known Lance for a few short years, but yet he's touched my life in so many ways ... What a great man he truly was....
I remember Lance for the warmth, the joy, and the bear hug with which he greeted me when I attended your productions. He made me feel loved.
Here are my adjectives for the one and only Lance Hewett: Sweet, delightful, optimistic, funny, heartwarming, trustworthy, eternal, mysterious, young, charming, courageous, glorious, thoughtful, enchanting, enthusiastic, proud, persuasive, quirky, ambitious, fearless, gifted, romantic, sparkling, serene, brilliant.
Everything from the people I know and love to the pathy my theatrical journey has taken me is directly linked to the time I have spent with Isle of Shoals. I wouldn't trade my time working with you for anything.
His passion & positivity was boundless...he guided me so I could climb the most magnificent mountains and invited me on many journeys which illuminated my heart and imagination as a performer & an audience member.
He made me laugh, kept me happy when things seemed impossible that first yer of Creede and was sometimes very exasperating. He was a totally unique person and we all loved him and are better people for knowing him.
He was such a beautiful person, so gracious, unbelievably gracious.
He always seemed so energetic and eager to experience so much of the world even when he was not feeling well.
He was not only a great director, but a humanistic person. His kind qualities are so rare in this dear world.
A very caring, patient, encouraging, personable Director who put his heart & soul in whatever he directed!!!!!! His was a life well-lived & he will be sorely missed!!!!!!!
He gave us all the fire to be creative -- he could make a set out of a Duane Reade bag of odds & ends...and a beautiful show from a ragtag group of players in a room painted black. No detail was too small, no effort went unnoticed (even though he hadn't slept in days...or weeks).
In this day when everyone else writes short texts, Lance would write pages & pages of helpful letters to people. He'd spend his own money for costumes & scenery to make the show perfect.
You know one of so many things that stands out in my mind about Lance (and I'm sure I'm not alone in this regard)? His letters. What other contemporary human being takes the time and invests the abundance of thought into handwritten expression of so deep an appreciation of people and art?
He was an incredible human being with so much life and humor and genuine caring. Every time I thought about him I smiled.
Lance was a wonderful man.
As a Founding Member of Creede Repertory Theatre, the State Theatre of Colorado, at the age of 17, he seems to have cut a somewhat less dignified figure:
He said a cormorant was a big nasty bird, and so "cormorance" meant complete anger and unwillingness to accept what was happening. We said, "No, it's a little harmless bird." He said, "Well it SHOULD be a big nasty bird, and I like the word. I'm using it." And there was also Lance yelling out "Tishh, Truculence, Cormorants" when things were not going well.
Fern was one of several words that Lance would insert into existing song lyrics to insinuate a meaning that sounded quite risque. Another one was creel. Hence:
I want to hold your fern
Put your fern on my creel
When we're out together dancing fern to creel.
The shadow of your fern.
Some enchanted ferndock...
A Tribute from the Chairman of The Josephine Foundation
A Costumer's Remembrance
An Actress's Thoughts