Patrick will be starring in the Last Cyclist at the West End Theater this May - June. Click here for info

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To my Fight Captain

"Do not go, Gentle, Into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

This is my online journal of my journey as an actor here in NYC. So I think it fitting to use this space as a way to somehow deal with all that has transpired over the past 2 days. It has been a difficult week already and here I sit, mindlessly working, it being only Tuesday.

He was my mentor and my friend.
My friend has left.

I go back and forth between laughing and crying. Which is a step up from yesterday. Yesterday was a day filled with waiting, emails and phone calls flying back and forth between family and reporters. No one ever thinks about what to do if something like this happens. There isn't much to do but sit and wait. Try not to spread things around until we know everything. And we still don't.

We just know that the community, my family, has lost a teacher and a beloved friend.

I find this a fitting place to remember Jeff Norton, and to honor him. After all, he is the one teacher who had the most profound effect on my life as an artist. As the small group of friends who make up my family here started coming together over phones and emails and texts yesterday, along with sympathy for each other and Jeff's family, stories started to emerge.

The man was amazing. There is not a single person who would ever contest that. He had the biggest heart and the most passion I'd ever seen. Acting was something he took very serious. And he imparted that feeling on all of us. He taught me it was a craft that we should feel honored to have had the calling for. You know, like the priesthood, only cooler. (no offense to the cool priests out there) He treated it as a gift to be passed down from one generation to another. He taught me that you also never stop learning. Every moment is an opportunity to learn something else to put into the little bag of tricks we actors wear around our souls. With Jeff, you couldn't help but learn whenever in his presence.

He shared his memories of his training, his growing up, his adventures in NY and what was possibly in store for us. It was an honor just to hear him rant. More so it was an honor to see him on stage. Every time I saw him act I couldn't help but feel sorry for the other actors on stage. They just melted away. He was the most engaging actor I've ever seen on stage. You couldn't help but be drawn to everything he did. Everything he said.

And in real life too. He was a huge personality but still remained quiet and calm. He was always so peaceful and willing to help. I remember midnight sessions in the studio working on choreography, I remember deep conversations as we ripped apart the text of Alice, I remember his stationwagen. I remember his smile and laughter which always came about as he made fun of us silly students. But he genuinely loved us all. I remember Swords. Always a bundle of swords in his hand. I remember him asking us to please not break his house. I remember Jeff Norton.

I remember Jeff Norton. And those memories will patch this immense hole that is in my chest.
It will not fill it, but I will be able to move past this. To move on.

All for one and one for all.

Jeff, I miss you. And if somehow you're there floating about in the ether and you can read this, you are always with me on stage. Your influence has ignited so much in me. I am eternally grateful. Thank you my dear dear friend.

Sleep well. And Dream.