Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Friendship and Death

Yesterday I got an email from someone claiming to know a theatre friend who passed away a few yrs ago. The email requested details on his death...as well as a request to read a play. Ugh. I met this mutual friend over 10 yrs ago for a project. He paid me for some small rewrites and script doctoring, while saying he wanted to produce one of my plays. I saw how he liked to string ppl along on 'the hopes' of a production. That was his power. So I decided to just be a friend and deny him that power.

After our initial few meetings I never let him read one of my plays. I was committed to just being friends and not participating in this game. I did attend his readings and productions. And I saw the ppl he kept around him and became concerned. They were some good folks but there was a palpable 'neediness' that reminded me of 'hungry ghosts' in Buddhism: starving spirits forever craving something. I spoke with him about that and he agreed. And then we drifted apart  and yrs passed until I got a gofundme msg about his illness. I rushed to Beth Israel and found him disoriented and surrounded by theatre ppl. There was a hardness in the air. Ppl were discussing their projects and the patient in need seemed to be an aside. I left after an hour b/c I felt so sad about this 'hungry ghost' sensation.

A few days later I visited him in the afternoon and he was alone. I was only stopping by to say 'hi' but I ended up staying several hours to feed him, advocate for him, check on his transfer, wait for GODOT-like visitors who never arrived. He was scared and I was depressed b/c we were both tapping into a general feel: this was it. After all these decades of battling for glory, gossiping, talk of collaboration, lunches, productions: this was the end of something. And there was no family, nobody he worked with, none of ppl who had gotten what they needed from him.  I was the only one. I performed some Buddhist offerings and prayers in his room..the same I used for my grandmother.

He was transferred to a glorified version of hospice. And then he was gone. All these yrs later I get an email request for details about his death via a play reading brochure and that same hard and chilling feeling returns. 

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