In Memoriam: Susan Dillard, by Norman Blumensaadt


My friend and colleague Susan Dillard passed away Saturday morning. Susan-director, actress, graphic artist, set designer and builder of puppets-a true theatre artist. I first met Susan when she directed a production of The Fantastics at the Texas Union. She was the first person to cast Zell Miller in an original play whose name I cannot remember at Capital City Playhouse.

She is the first and only director with Different Stages to win a B. Iden Payne award for her direction of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night. And when Small Potatoes Theatrical Company received its first cultural contract for Caryl Churchill’s Cloud, suggested we change out name to Different Stages, because every production we put the stage in a different place.

She directed plays from 1983-1997 with Different Stages. The plays: Chekhov in your Stocking, Talking With… (our first hit production), How I Got That Story, Light Up the Sky, Fen, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Titus Andronicus, The Raven, Johnny on a Spot, Etta Jenks, Mad Forest, and Seven Keys to Baldpate. As an actress: Cloud Nine, Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Secret Lives of the Sexists, and The Tavern.

I have many memories of Susan, to name a few—holding one of her cats in the sink while she washed it, how she and Tom Chamberlain would crack up laughing but just looking at each other in The Tavern, and her statement that murder mysteries were “mind candy” and perfect summer fare for the Texas heat. Susan Dillard  — a true friend and colleague.

                   -- Norman Blumensaadt, January 6, 2020