Dudley Beene, III.
An odd name, yes. But a person that I credit for placing me on the path I am on presently.
I only write this entry in hopes that he is the type of person that every once in awhile types his moniker into Google search and will, perhaps, encounter this entry.
Dudley Beene, III from Shreveport, Louisiana.
In high school I was just a mere lass wearing a plaid hooded sweatshirt. Banging my head to whatever type of music was supplied at school dances. Alone of course, but always accompanied with whiplash after.
But Dudley Beene, III saw something in me. I don't know what, but it was something.
Dudley Beene, III introduced me to what I know as "comedy." Granted, I had been exposed to Monty Python and Weird Al prior to my encounter with Dudly Beene, III. However, I did not enjoy comedy as much as I do now until I met the likes of Dudley Beene, III.
I was just a sophomore. A sophomore looking for some sort of identity outside of what type of hat she wore. (Mondays were beret days. Tuesday was Jester Hat day. Wednesday was Madhatter Hat time. Thursday was day of the Beanie. Friday was Hat Potpurri.) Of course, I was a theatre chick, in need of some sort of recognition, an 'identity' if you will.
And there he was. The big bad ass senior. The big bad ass funny guy. With his knowledge of things that were hilarious and good. I am not ashamed to say I was in awe.
But there was an immediate liking between us. Not of the crushing variety on my part, but a fascination that came from the Fountain of Respect.
Dudley Beene, III was the first person to introduce me to the world of Christopher Durang. (If you do not know Christopher Durang, then you should for he is a man of another type of comedic awe.) At forensic tournaments he would perform such Durang pieces with such vigor and commitment that it would intimidate all that had to follow.
And I would sit and watch him flail his gangly limbs about, using his crouched stance as an advantage rather than a hindrance, taking note of every facial expression, every nuance of pronunciation, every sly twitch of the scalp. He was keen and in touch with what worked and what did not work.
I learned more from observing Dudley Beene, III than I did from my entire theatre high school academic career.
The day I was cast in his senior production of "An Actor's Nightmare" was a day of happiness for me. However, as rehearsals went on and on I came to realize that this comedic presentation was not something that one can fake, but was something to work on and perfect.
After one particular horrendous rehearsal, I remember that Dudley sat us all down in the plastic cream chairs that served as sitting devices for the high school magnet audience and yelled at us, "LEARN YOUR GOD DAMN FUCKING LINES! LEARN THEM. FUCKING JUST LEARN THEM!"
It was the first time a director ever said fuck to me.
It holds a fond place in my heart.
The last time I saw Dudley Beene, III was in Austin about 5 years ago. He happened to attend a production of "Little Shop of Horrors" that my college was producing. I was only the prop mistress and as I straightened the flowers in various vases during the seating of the house I heard someone shout out, "LadeeLeroY!"
I turned and there was Dudley Beene, III.
I don't remember what the conversation was about because I was flustered with such an encounter. I only regret that at that time I did not make an effort to gather his contact information so that I could correspond later in life.
I write this entry now because I was driving in my car to a location of some sort. I happened to pop in a mix tape from the bag of mix tape randomness that I carry in my vehicle at all times. The mix tape of Fate's choice was one that Dudley Beene, III had made for me many years ago.
As I listened I laughed and a couple of tears came to my eyes. "Why tears?," the rhetorical reader asks. Well because I never got to thank Dudley Beene, III for being an influence, a role model, a muse, if you will.
So, Dudley Beene, III. If you happen to be Google searching your name I hope that you fall upon this entry and feel some sort of warmth in your heart. A slight tingle of ego, if you will, for knowing that you had somehow shaped a person's pursuit of life.
I thank you, sir. I hope you are well.
And I hope you feel some sort of joy knowing that I am well, too.
For those of you that are just now tuning in, there have been 2 posts in the last 48 hours. Enjoy, please. Thanx! Mngt.