A Living Experience
edited: Wednesday, February 25, 2004
By Carmen Ruggero
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2004
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Form your mind to mine, and the work continues...
Photo by Carmen Ruggero -- all rights reserved
A Living Experience
Many years ago, as a young budding actress, I met a most wonderful woman by the name of Beah Richards. She was not only an actress of impeccable talent, but a poet, and a loud and clear voice reaching out to minorities, and humanity as a whole. She spoke from her experience as a black woman, to all women. Her wisdom addressed us all. I was fortunate to have Beah as a drama coach. Her teachings on the “Theater of Being” still influence my writing.
Beah Richards is famous for her talent, and the many unforgettable roles she played, in film and on stage, but particularly for her one woman show, “A Black Woman Speaks”.
LisaGay Hamilton, actress/filmmaker, presents the HBO production of her documentary, “Beah: A Black Woman Speaks”, which premiers on HBO, on Wednesday, February 25th at 7:30 PM ET/PT.
I also had the honor to have photographed Beah Richards. I did her portrait several times, as well as numerous documentary shots of her acting workshops. Some of my pictures will appear on this HBO production.
When Beah died a few years ago, I felt her loss very deeply. I had already relocated to the Midwest by then. Too many miles between us; I missed her, I missed the communion we had enjoyed. I didn't even know how ill she was until a few months before her death. And suddenly, she was gone from my life.
My career in theater was very short; the thought of not having suceeded bothered me, but not necessarely because of any personal loss. It was, instead, because I felt very strongly that her work had to continue through those she taught so well. Knowing her was one of the strongest experiences I've ever had with a human being. She and I were more than coach and student, we were close friends. Her teachings and friendship were priceless gifts to me. The Theater of Being was more than an acting class, it taught me a way a living, and gave me a creative tool for a lifetime.
How does one repay such debt? One can’t. One simply continues to live the experience she so freely shared. We honor our teachers by continuing to grow and to carry on with our work -- their work. And the legacy is carried on. I don’t act any more, but her hand and unending spirit, still guide me. I had, of course, no idea back then, that I would eventually be writing fiction and poetry. That the creative process would continue, and that years later her words would still run through my mind. And she still teaches me. I write with the understanding of life she has shared with me. It is mine like a fingerprint – here to stay.
I am very honored that my photography will appear in this production. It's like we've somehow reconnected. In explaining "being", she used tell us in class, that experience is walking the full circle, arriving at the point of departure, and recognizing it for the first time. After all these years, and all we’ve lived and shared, this puts us back together, it validates our experience, it closes the circle -- one more time. And what I wish to say to her is: “I’m still learning Beah, I honor your friendship, and your teachings. From your mind to mine, your work continues.
Please watch this HBO production, I guarantee it will be one to grow from.
Carmen Ruggero .2004
Web Site: BeWrite
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|Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain
|Carmen - what a resounding, very well-written article! And topped off with a wonderful photo! Very much enjoyed this, Robert.|
|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|enjoyed this article!|
|Reviewed by Handsum Hart
|I saw this on hbo, it was excellent|
|Reviewed by Debra Conklin
|To have someone touch you so completely and deeply is a fortunate thing indeed. I look forward to the special.
|Reviewed by Phyllis Jean Green
|What an inspiring tribute, Carmen. And what an inspiration you are. I know exactly what you mean about never being able to repay. But you have gone a long way toward doing just that. Your friend k n o w s you are honoring her in this way. And if she could, she would tell you it was -- no, is -- an honor to be your friend. It is wonderful about the photograph. Can't wait to see it. Got the date on my calendar already. Just sign me, Proud to Know You|
|Reviewed by ***** ********* (Reader)
|Very impressive, Carmen, and very touching! This was a fascinating and involving read. I am familiar with Beah Richards' work, as I am sure most people (over a certain age) are, but I knew precious little about the woman herself.
I certainly never knew that you were able to capture her in portraiture. That is an intriguing plus for this subject matter.
I will be very interested in watching what promises to be an amazing and insightful documentary special about this artist and I look forward to seeing YOUR work, as well, in the piece!
|Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU
|When the bells of gratitude ring, love and affection become dews of grace, and the heart that pumps them grow in wisdom.
A sage student is that that honors her/his guiders to sublimity through the path of learning and teaching showing the world what makes the greatness of Humankind.
I am confident that this inspiring story will be many bricks to build the tower of respect and gratitude to witness the acts of love and creative inspiration.
I thank You for posting this treasure.
Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
|Reviewed by RD Larson
|So beautifully told, the story of this friendship warms my heart and gives me a special insite into how this gifted writer finds her words. I hope that the world soon recognizes the talent of Carmen because she deserves it. RDLarson www.RDLarson.com|
|Reviewed by Robert Montesino
|Such a fine tribute to your mentor & friend! Yes I will watch for this on HBO! Thanks for writing this!|
|Reviewed by Helga Ross
|Carmen, this is such a beautiful tribute.
You were blessed to have such a person AND friend, in your life.
I think there are 'angels' who touch our lives -- She's smiling down, right now.
Thank you for sharing, and expanding her influence.
|Reviewed by Tinka Boukes
|O what a beautiful friendship Carmen!!
Thanks for sharing this my friend!!
|Reviewed by Kate Clifford
|When a teacher is honored, as you have honored your friend, we know the world has had a great teacher. You will always have the connection even though she is no longer amoung us. She lives through your words and actions and the others she has touched. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us, and I hope to be able to catch the movie you have mentioned.|
|Reviewed by Dan Summerfield (Reader)
I've had teachers like Beah and I hope that in my odd, original way I've done somethings which would have made them proud.
The greatest gift we can give to those whom we love, respect and admire for what they have taught us is to continue our work and theirs after they are gone.
Though I don't get HBO, it appears that is exactly what you have done, Carmen. I'll be looking forward to reading the reviews.
|Reviewed by neil marr (Reader)
|If the truth of a life lies in how others evaluate it when it's over, Carmen Ruggero's personal glimpse into one aspect of Beah Richards' speaks well of the great lady ... and of Carmen, the author, who so warmly acknowledges that her own life was enriched by Beah's being. That Carmen Ruggero is able to return the favour with her words and pictures is fitting. That she chose to make the contribution suggests that both women are driven by the need to contribute to a world badly in need of caring direction. Neil Marr. Ed -- BeWrite.|