Reviewing Theatre For Over 40 Years
Sorry About That…
I was all set to review a long list of shows opening along my usual beat, when we got a phone call. My father-in-law in Kentucky was near death. Obviously, that took precedence, so I have spent the days since September 6, when the call came in, nearly as far from Los Angeles as it is possible to get… well, at least in the lower 48. It was good to be there. Along with my sisters-in-law and their spouses, we were camped out in his hospital room on the palliative care floor until his peaceful death last Wednesday night. His service was this past Saturday, and I returned to town late Sunday night.
Ed Rausch was an ordinary, remarkable man. He worked hard all his life. He smoked like a chimney until his lung collapsed in his late 70s and he began sincerely preaching the evils of tobacco. He was an amazing amateur mathematician, and a remarkable amateur horse racing handicapper. He was a closet intellectual. He buried two wives – the one he fell for when he danced with her on the streets of Louisville at the celebration for the end of WWII when he was 15, and the woman who brought the last two children (steps he adopted) into his fold and celebrated his retirement to a fishing cabin on a lake, only to die of a cancer so rare nobody knew how to fight it. He kept his sense of humor through it all.
He is survived by four of his five children, 10 grandchildren (an 11th died suddenly at 19 while Ed was in the hospital for the collapsed lung), and 11 great-grandchildren. He was one of eight children, and his host of nieces, nephews and their progeny could fill a stadium.
And then there are those of us who happened into his family circle. The first day I met him, when my relationship with his daughter was still formative, and had not been disclosed to anyone he knew, he looked me in the eye as we left and said, “Take good care of her.” He knew. He was that kind of guy: he read people.
Did he like theater? I have no idea. We never discussed it. He had little interest in anything other than math, science, family, fishing, storytelling, the occasional low-rent game of friendly poker, and Churchill Downs.
And I will miss him. Rest well, Ed.
Now then. Back to the art of theater. Reviews will probably come thick and fast in the next couple of weeks.