Monday, June 4, 2007

Will Stackman, R.I.P.

It is with great sadness that I report, via Larry Stark's Theater Mirror website, that fellow critic Will Stackman died at his home last night. Although Will and I often did not see eye to eye, I recognized that he was a true critic's critic - smart, scrappy and independent (perhaps even ornery) who dedicated himself to seeing as much theater as he possibly could (only other critics can appreciate how daunting this is over the long haul). Puppetry and lighting were special interests of Will's (I remember he once jumped all over me because in my praise of the Wimberley Theatre I had overlooked what he felt was a disappointing light grid), but he was truly erudite in all aspects of the theater, and his erudition informed a refreshingly unpredictable point of view.

An early web publisher, Will maintained at least two sites that I knew of, and contributed regularly to more. I'll simply quote the last few lines of his "And then I saw . . ." blog, because they seem to me to express so simply his dedication to the art he loved:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

No reviews today. Seeing Present Laughter at HTC tomorrow. Rest of the week--who knows.
- will, 5:02 PM

Saturday, May 26, 2007

No new reviews, Not planning to see anyhting this weeked.
- will, 4:46 PM

Monday, May 28, 2007

No Memorial Days weekend surprizes. PR for PIAZZA. May try to see.
- will, 5:07 PM

I find that final "May try to see" heartbreaking. Will passed on just a few days later.


  1. Tom:
    I was at the StageSource party last night when Larry S told me -- it was a bit of a shock. We'd talked just 12 days ago on seeing the Huntington 'Present Laughter' (I'd been in the Lyric production years ago), and he was at the marathon with kind words about my potato-chip-of-a-play; on both occassions, he seemed unwell but conversational. I enjoyed long and peppery talks with him about our mutual interest in 20's/30's American Theatre (he knew a LOT more about the Lionel-&-John Barrymore production of "The Jest" than I did) and silent films -- he and I once had a considerable set-to about the merits of Saroyan's plays. He loved a good scrap, but he damned well knew what he was talking about; and ... jeez, we need a lot more theatre folks like that.
    all the best,
    robert b.

  2. Oh, no!! That's so sad. Up till today, Prof. Will was planning a First Night series with FLC this year. He will be missed!
    Kristin MacDougall