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The Director of Love, Loss and What I Wore

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Healthy Theater: Good For a Soul
October 12, 2014. I didn’t get to see the opening night of Love, Loss and What I Wore. There are only five performances left of this run, this upcoming weekend.
Sometimes fewer words present themselves to tell what happened at a show. There were 86 big audience-wide laughs in Act One. 52 audience rouser laughs in Act Two. Laughter is healthy. Five real actors performed, mostly comic/dramatic monologs, to make us laugh about clothing and life and marriage. Two actors kissed, two or three times to portray their union. All that laughter without deriding maleness was nice. One actor talked about overcoming a death sentence, being scared of death and fighting to survive breast cancer. Maybe that’s why there were a few less audience laughs in Act Two.
The monolog about death reminded me that Lee Gaskill died today. You may not recognize his name, but for more than a half century, he’s been there in the darkness of Houston concerts and theatrical productions, not seeking the spotlight or recognition, just being the best kind of theater angel, one who loves live theater and music unconditionally, giving nothing but encouragement and support, year after year, show after show after show, he’s been there, supporting the smallest theaters and the large ones, a true theater angel. Lee Gaskill supported and showed his love for live music and theater like he did his beloved wife, deeply and most every day . Sometime, early this morning, we lost Lee Gaskill, suddenly, unexpectedly. We, all of Houston, all of us who love art, are less now that he is gone. Houston theater has lost an angel.
At the end of Love, Loss and What I Wore I was wearing jeans and a red flannel shirt. The actors took their bows and applause and invited everyone in the theater to take pictures with the cast members and post those pictures on Facebook to let Houston know how much they enjoyed the show. I felt the love. I felt moved. Maybe there is a soul — there must be, to feel this way, mustn’t there? Maybe I just need to think that there’s still a theater angel who was called Lee Gaskill in the shadows. I felt loss but I felt love, that special Lee Gaskill kind of love for the performers and the art. When I asked the five actors of Love, Loss and What I Wore to pose with the Theater Angel that now is Lee Gaskill, in a kind of theatrical missing man formation, in a theatrical boots reversed in the stirrups of a single riderless horse, they all kindly agreed. I hope these aren’t the last hugs you get from the artists you have loved so dearly and well, Lee Gaskill. If they are, we will miss you and the world is less good without you here. With this Love and Loss I just might remember what I wore. With this tribute I hope to remember Lee Gaskill, the truest angel of Houston theater.

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October 1, 2014