Who says theatre nerds don’t like sports? Our annual Fountain Theatre Dodgers Game Night is a highly-anticipated event every year. Tuesday, a rowdy group of thirty Fountain Folk sat together at Dodger Stadium to cheer on The Boys in Blue. The cool summer night was perfect. While the Dodgers battled on the field for first place in the National League West, the rooting section of Fountain fans enjoyed cold beer and hot dogs and the joy of being together.
Most satisfying of all to the Fountain crew, the cross-country rivalry of New York versus Los Angeles as theatre towns was settled on the baseball field Tuesday night. The Dodgers beat the NY Mets 11-4.
On a beautiful Sunday morning at the lovely Encino home of Fountain board member Carrie Chassin and husband Jochen Haber, members of the Fountain Family and supporters of Arrival & Departure gathered for a delicious brunch to salute our upcoming world premiere opening July 14.
“Arrival & Departure is the most innovative and ambitious production in our 28-year history, ” said Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs, in his remarks to the group. “We are deeply grateful to our extraordinary donors who make it possible for the Fountain to keep raising its bar of excellence.”
Actors Deanne Bray and Troy Kotsur joined Fountain staff members Sachs and his wife Jacqueline Schultz, Deborah Lawlor, Barbara Goodhill and James Bennett at the festive backyard get-together. Hosts Chassin and Haber welcomed board member and donor Karen Kondazian, donors Debbi and Ashley Posner, board president and donors Dorothy Wolpert and husband Stanley Wolpert, and board member and donor Don Zachary. Andrew Leyva provided ASL interpretation.
The savory spread included salmon, salad, fruit, roasted vegetables and bagels. It was a glorious afternoon enjoyed in a beautiful outdoor setting, celebrating some of the remarkable donors who have nurtured the creation, development and soon-to-be opening of this highly anticipated new play at the Fountain.
Everyone has them. The favorite relatives who visit at a family gathering. A cherished pair of grandparents, a blessed aunt and uncle. Family members so fun, so kind-hearted, supportive and filled with good cheer that you actually look forward to seeing them. For all of us at the Fountain Theatre for decades, Marcia and Mirk Mirkin were that treasured duo. We lost Mirk (Irwin) in 2015 at the age of eighty-eight. We now say good-bye to Marcia Mirkin, who passed away last Friday at eighty-three.
Marcia and Mirk were so connected as a couple, so deeply married, that Mirk passed away on June 20th, the day of their 60th wedding anniversary. That kind of devoted bond at life’s end was no stranger to me. My mother died on the 52nd anniversary of her wedding to my father.
Mirk and Marcia Mirkin were jolly parents to all of us at the Fountain. Mirk with his sly grin and playful glint in his eyes. Marcia, arms open wide, the big mamma you wish you had, proudly bestowing you with accolades when you hit a home run and scolding you lovingly when you sometimes struck out.
Marcia kept coming to the Fountain after Mirk passed. Nothing would keep her away from the theatre she loved. As her own health declined, she’d still get herself here for every production, even when she now required extra help getting to her seat.
Marcia spoke forcefully from the stage at our memorial service for our beloved staff member, Ben Bradley. And she mourned with us when we lost our subscription sales diva, Diana Gibson. Diana and Marcia were close pals.
My strongest feeling of Marcia Mirkin is her huge embrace. Marcia wrapping her large arms around me, smiling broadly, bathing me in praise like a son. I bet each and every one of us at the Fountain felt they were her favorite. She made you feel that way.
Marcia passed away on Friday, December 8th, 2017, by her own choice. She was in hospice care at home in terminal condition and had been approved for the End of Life program at Kaiser. It breaks my heart to learn of her passing but I admire her decision to conclude her life on her own terms.
The Fountain Theatre was on her mind days before her final Friday. As one of her last mortal duties, she had her daughter Karen send me a manuscript written by a patient she knew in a prison hospice unitsuffering from AIDS and MS, encouraged by his therapist to tell his life story in his own words. Marcia believed it was a story of “trauma, healing and redemption.” Telling his life story “could help at-risk youth and prevent them from going into the penal system.” She thought it could make a good play.
This was on her mind, in her heart, days before she had scheduled her own exit from this world.
Our hearts ache with the loss of our dear friend, Marcia Mirkin. We salute a remarkable woman who enjoyed a meaningful life. Even gone, she and Mirk will remain with us always.
Stephen Sachs is the Co-Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre.
Victoria and I have been residents of Los Feliz for more than 25 years. We love theatre and we fell in love with The Fountain Theatre the first time we saw a play there about ten years ago. We immediately became subscribers even though we subscribe to other theatres in the greater Los Angeles area. We are continually impressed by the originality and quality of the plays at the Fountain, as well as the intimate environment. As such, The Fountain is a great place to see the plays of great writers like August Wilson and Athol Fugard; and we have seen them all, – Gem of the Ocean, The Train Driver, Coming Home, Exits and Entrances, and the most recent classic, The Blue Iris. We will be remiss if we do not mention the professionalism and friendliness of The Fountain staff. They have always been gracious in accommodating us since our business requires frequent travel out of town.
The more time I spend at the Fountain, I’m not entirely convinced being an intern here is an internship experience that most college students are having.
This summer, when I heard about the L. A. County Arts Internships (which any college student interested in the arts should apply to), I was determined to get one. I didn’t care if I was working at a ballet, or a theater, or an art school. I just wanted to be near the arts. I wrote cover letter after cover letter, hoping for the best. But when I saw The Fountain’s description for an intern, I kept thinking, “This is the one. I’m perfect for this.”
I was interviewed and, much to my surprise and delight, hired. I still didn’t really know what it was going to be like. I pictured myself maybe doing some copying and coffee-making (prerequisite skills all interns are expected to have). Or I imagined myself writing grants and sitting on the sidelines as an already assembled team worked. I didn’t ever think I would really be a part of this theatre. A summer is hardly long enough to get a decent tan, let alone feel at home in a new place. Yet, in seven weeks I feel just as much a part of this team as I’ve ever felt as part of anything.
Simon Levy, Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs
I realized I was really a part of the team at our first staff meeting. The Fountain staff consists of just enough people to fit around a kitchen table. It feels like less of a staff and more like of a family. Stephen would bring up each matter of business, and it seemed like everyone had something to say about it. These people valued my opinion and wanted to know how I felt about things. And just like everyone else at The Fountain, with many different job titles and responsibilities, I learned that I was no different as the Development Intern. Yes, I have definitely learned a lot about grant-writing and what being on the development side of things means. But that is just one of the many experiences I’ve had here. I have compiled press packets, organized auditions, worked the box office, read scripts, and even written a few blog posts. For a good portion of my time here I was doing something I had never done before. Maybe that’s what an intern is supposed to do. Experience a little bit of everything.
So far, this internship has been more than internship. I always thought of internship as trying on an outfit. You try something on for a few weeks and see if it fits. If it doesn’t, you move on to the next outfit. But if it fits, you can stop looking.
As a writing major, I don’t really know what I’m going to do with myself. There’s no clear job I know I’ll have. But this internship has given me some direction. It has shown me what working in a theatre is really like and made me realize it’s something that I want to do.
I know it’s only week seven. I’m only half-way through college. I could change my mind. But I’m fairly certain that it’s a good fit. And while other interns may be spending their summers finding the perfect cream-to-sugar ratio, I’ve been really spoiled working here and being a part of The Fountain.
I may just be their summer intern. But ever since that first staff meeting, I’ve really felt like a part of the family.
We have been married for 41 years and are retired teachers who enjoy live theatre in Los Angeles. Season subscribers to eight theatres and the Los Angeles Stage Alliance, we are thrilled to be in the L.A. area where there is always great live theatre. We’re not limited to theatre and attend Early and Chamber Music concerts and view exhibits at local art museums.
The Fountain Theatre stands out for its bold presentations that inform and challenge us with regard to politics, race relations, war, people’s complex lives, and more. Many of the Fountains plays are first runs and premiers or ones too challenging for larger stages. It’s hard to pick a favorite play, but some are: Master Class (Terrence McNally), Bakersfield Mist(Stephen Sachs), The Ballad of Emmett Till (Ifa Bayeza), Coming Home (Athol Fugard) and several by Tennessee Williams. With picks like these what is not to like?
We hope the Fountain continues to survive and thrive in these difficult times. – Christa and William Wilk