Kristen Coury is Gulfshore Playhouse’s Founder and Producing Artistic Director. She will be blogging on Saturdays throughout the 2014-2015 Season
“Every day a little death.” – Stephen Sondheim, A Little Night Music
We are always in the process of change. Comings and goings. Beginnings and endings. In reality, I believe that theatre people understand the cycle of birth and death better than most. As a producer and director, I feel that I experience the joy of birth with the opening of each new production, and there truly is a sense of loss and the need to grieve with the closing of each show. In a certain sense, the play is the soul that inhabits the body of the theatre and when it leaves, it is a kind of death.
We are constantly in transition. And here we are again. But not only are we closing Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, the show that may have been the most fulfilling artistic experience I have ever had in oh so many ways, but I am having to say farewell to one of my dearest collaborators, Cody Nickell, who not only has brought Mr. Marley and the whole cast of characters so gloriously to life, but has starred in a total of eight and directed (so far) a total of four Gulfshore Playhouse productions.
That’s a lot.
It’s really a lot when you consider that any other guest director has only ever directed one production here and that I think that the most amount of GP shows any other actor has starred in was four.
And, so, after two and a half years of working quite closely together artistically I will be wishing our very first Artistic Associate well as he continues on his path. It seems like yesterday Cody was starring in Blithe Spirit, his first show with us back in 2011, and pitching me on the idea of hiring him full-time. Our budget was much smaller then and our needs were small but it seemed like a fantastic idea.
With Cody’s help we went from a four show season to a six show season, started our now-annual New Works Festival and deepened our investment in new works. It has been a joy to have another person on staff focusing on art, and a lifesaver when Cody would step in as a small part in a show when we didn’t have housing or resources to hire an extra out of town actor.
I am grateful for the investment he and his wife made in us when they made the decision to relocate to Southwest Florida, and bereft at what is now a huge loss both for me personally and for the Playhouse.
I know that all things happen as they should and that the future, although currently a bit murky, will become clear and I know there will be ways to bring Cody back. And won’t we all be happy when we do.
Indeed, we will all feel “a little death” at Cody’s leaving us. No one who has experienced his talent will be unaffected by this. Cody’s talent lives large and I know that wherever his path takes him there will be rewards on all sides. SURELY, we will be awaiting that great day when he, once again, will grace Naples with his extraordinary gifts. It would be hard to measure what his uprooting of his own life and the life of his beautiful, talented wife, did to further elevate our magnificent Gulfshore Playhouse experience. Now … Upward and Onward, dear Cody! May the wind be at your back and all blessings be upon you till we meet again! A great Admirer, Chrissie Paddock _____