Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.
October 19, 2009, by

Remembering the generosity of a giant

by Greta Papageorgiu

Unemployed and fresh out of theatre school, I decided that I should get coaching for my Shakespearean monologues. I did not know Douglas Campbell, but of course knew of him and that he lived nearby. Armed with a healthy dose of just-out-of-theatre-school-chutzpah, I looked him up in the phonebook and called him. To my surprise he said, “Well, if you’re not doing anything right now, come down to Laval Street”.

I was out of my roach-infested Park Ave apartment like a shot, down to the picturesque Carre St. Louis. His wife Moira Wylie answered the door and welcomed me into their living room. Douglas was sitting in his chair by the window and chatting with their daughter-in-law Moya O’Connell. We were all introduced and Douglas turned to me and asked in his booming voice, “What have you been working on?” I said I wanted to start fresh with the Constance monologue from King John and they invited me to read it.

After I finished they gave me wonderful feedback and career advice. Douglas then proceeded to regale me with tales of “his day” and then quite out of the blue asked me, “How would you like to come and live here?” They were doing a show at the Piggery Theatre outside Montreal and needed someone to housesit.

I was only too glad to get out of Park Ave even for a month. I would now be living (temporarily) in one of the most beautiful quarters of Montreal, surrounded by the accumulated mementos of a life well-led in the theatre world: photos of great theatre productions, a prop tree decorating an office, books with inscriptions from various notables (I was at liberty to plunge at will into their vast theatre library). Inadvertently, I had been given the opportunity to live vicariously through them and imagine what my theatre career might become.

This display of generosity from someone so exalted remains to this day a seminal moment for me in my pursuit of this precarious career, where the generosity of others means so much.

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