I attended the celebration of the ‘life and work’ of Robin Gray last night. The only people I really wanted to see were Kris and Susie but Susie was busy as a kind of a host – it was in her theater – and by the time I got to Kris, it was near the end and she was tired. I was tired. The trip from Pacifica in the afternoon had taken me almost exactly three hours door to door. By contrast, that evening I got home in an hour and 50 minutes including a stop at the grocery store and a stop for gas.
Of the several former colleagues I spoke to, only a couple were people I would like to see again. The conversations were almost exclusively about work. When I mentioned to Kris that I would try to get up to see her at home, she instantly said, ‘No Local 50 talk. We’ve had enough of that for a lifetime.’ I readily agreed.
That was all later. At the service proper, I heard some good stories about Robin but my favorite part was a video that someone had gotten from an appearance she made in front of some theater students. Her inimitable style was in full flower: profane and funny, underpinned with a complete professionalism. I will say that she embodied what I love best about being in the theatre: ready and able to deal with almost any situation, yet never losing sight of the basic goal of touching people emotionally.
‘Band of brothers’ is the phrase that comes to mind but that’s not right since there are many women in theatre. The phrase is also associated with men killing other men, but the idea of a small group of people doing a task that no one outside the group can really understand appeals to me. Robin was a leader in a band of theatre people. It’s a group I am proud to be part of.
I’ve encouraged people many times since the death of Zach to treasure the good things they have while they can. While I regret not understanding better at the time what a treasure Robin was, I treasure the memories I have.