Mar 5, 2018

Goodbye Weck

John Weckesser 1941-2018

One of my college mentors, Mr. John Weckesser, died in late January of this year. February 17, a public memorial was held at the theatre on what was the campus of the College of Santa Fe, where I went to college in the late 1990s. The college dissolved some years back and now the campus itself is about to close and will probably be razed.

I went back to New Mexico to pay my respects to someone who had been a real influence on my development as a theatre maker as well as say goodbye once and for all to the place I went to college.

Me as a young theatre student with Weckesser, May 1996

John Weckesser was the head of the Theatre department at the College of Santa Fe while I was a student there. It was a post he held for 30 years and he was phenomenal at it. He was a gruff little man with a dry sense of humor who smoked a wonderful smelling pipe in his second floor windowless office above the studio theatre that was named after him. The theatre building, which housed a larger proscenium stage as well, was called the Greer Garson, named after the movie actor and benefactress of the department.

I have made a Cultivated Playwright podcast episode about some lessons Weckesser instilled in me. He only taught me one class while I was there (Theatre Management), but was a major presence throughout my time there and I had several memorable conversations with me.

You can hear the podcast... HERE

The memorial service was amazing. Speaker after speaker got up to tell stories of Weck and it became clear he touched many, many lives. I will always have a place in my heart for the man. He was a real character and most importantly for me, especially as I get older and deeper into my career in the theatre, he got things done. He fought, wrangled, negotiated, conjoled and leveraged. He did what he needed to, but he kept that department not just afloat, but thriving for years. He found the funds needed, He had extensive contacts (Gregory Peck, Alan Arkin, Jon Jory, Carol Burnett  and many more luminaries visited this tiny campus in New Mexico throughout the years and held intimate workshops with the students).

College of Santa Fe, you will be missed. John Weckesser, you will not be forgotten. I feel honored to have known you.

A great obit on John Weckesser can be found... HERE

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