Home #Hwoodtimes How people and plays live forever

How people and plays live forever

Fountain Family and Friends,

A celebrated and highly respected member of the Los Angeles theatre community, Diane Rodriguez, passed away on Good Friday, April 10, of cancer. She was an actress, director, playwright, and producer. She was a valuable member of the artistic staff at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles for 24 years, served as president of the board of Theatre Communications Group, and received recognition from President Barack Obama. She directed the world premiere of a new play at the Fountain Theatre. She was also my friend.

Diane’s passing is a shocking reminder to me that, even during this horrific pandemic with thousands losing their lives every day, people are still dying of other things, too, anyway. That doesn’t seem fair. How can that be possible? Diane died of cancer. How can that be allowed during this nightmare? It’s too much.

The profound truth is this: everything and everyone is impermanent; nothing lasts. Nothing and no one can be held onto. Impermanence is the inescapable, painful fact of life. Everything and everyone vanish. In apocalyptic pandemics and in small common moments, every day. Impermanence isn’t the problem. Impermanence is the path.

Theatre is an impermanent art form. Once the live performance is over, it’s gone forever. That gives theatre its pricelessness. We carry the memory of a great performance, an unforgettable theatre experience, with us our entire lives. This endows those indelible moments with a kind of immortality in our minds and hearts, like the loved ones we’ve lost. This pandemic reminds me that not only is theatre ephemeral, so is life itself.

The only thing certain is change. Two months ago, the Fountain was bustling. An acclaimed world premiere on our stage, a full season to unveil, our 30th Anniversary Gala to plan. Today, our doors are now closed, our building is empty, the year is uncertain.

What’s certain is The Fountain will re-emerge. Re-imagined. There is no going back. There is now only forward, to something else. Will you help me create it? Let’s reshape ourselves, and this intimate theatre we love, together.