Jul 27, 2005

Beside Myself

What a disarming and depressing coda to my time in L.A.: Mike Farkash has died. I was out of town and just now caught Hank Bunker's dead-on eulogy (I use the pun advisedly, as I think Mike would have appreciated it).

I knew Mike and employed him as a freelancer when I was at Back Stage West (how strange but somehow unsurprising that that very paper has remained silent about his death). He took upon it himself to introduce himself to me; he was working as a copy editor and sometime writer for The Hollywood Reporter, and we were in the same building, and it only made sense that a playwright and freelance writer should wander by and meet and greet.

I must admit that we struck up a mostly nicotine-based friendship (bittersweet, given that he apparently died of a heart attack), and he seldom tired of quoting back to me my bemused-but-positive review of the one play of his I ever saw, long before I'd met him—I believe it was called Beside Myself, at Theater/Theatre (in the old Cahuenga location which is now a Greyhound bus depot). I have vivid memories of it; it was quite brightly dark, gleefully weird and off-balance.

Much as he was. I remember Mike as lumbering and rueful but also unfailingly wry and slyly smiling—I don't know that we ever had an entirely straight-faced conversation—and I second Bunker's remembrance of his gently stentorian voice. I don't know what else to say, except that in some corner of wherever-we-go, Mike is regaling someone with the story of how he once saw Pamela Gordon naked in a play at Padua (eventually, after hearing this story for the umpteenth time, I had him write a profile of her in 2002; it's here, though I think you'll need a subscription to read it). Come to think of it, he and Pamela are probably having a good laugh (and a smoke) together as I write.

We can't go on. We must go on.

CORRECTION: Found an old list of "shows seen," and the Farkash play I reviewed was in fact titled Control Freaks. (Beside Myself was another play I covered from around the same time, but it was an Amy Hill solo show at East West Players.)

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