July 17, 2019 Today’s person: Laird Williamson!

Since far too often we only publicly say nice things about people when they are dead I’ve decided to randomly pick a Facebook friend every day and say something nice about them.


July 17, 2019

Today’s person: Laird Williamson!


So the phone rings.


“Michael, this is Laird.”


I didn’t even know we were on a first name basis. He had cast Velina and I in a couple of shows at ACT ( and I really appreciated that he cast us repeatedly as a couple) but I wasn’t used to major directors calling me out of the blue.


“I was wondering if you and Velina would be interested in coming out to Denver to do a play this winter.“


And I really wasn’t used to having any directors offer us roles we hadn’t read for in world premiere productions of shows at big regional theaters we had never worked at.


So this was new.


But as I had come understand Laird is a very special sort of theater creator. The show he asked us to do at the Denver Theater Company was his adaptation of the poem “John Brown’s Body.“ This epic poem encompasses the entire American Civil War, and Laird had written an amazing, brilliant, huge stage adaptation. The width and breadth of Laird‘s vision of that show or any show he does is always as ambitious as the creation of an entire world, and his commitment to making our world a better, kinder place is just as vast as his theatrical imagination. His kind thoughtfulness and examination of the loves, passions, weaknesses, and hopes of humanity make him a truly unique creator.


Which brings us to the him being an alien part.


Laird doesn’t exactly look at you as much as examine you as if you were a unique and new specimen that has been presented to him. And you can see each comment you make being processed behind the lenses of his camera-like eyes, then filed and cross-referenced in the vast library of his mind as he tries to figure out what type of human you are. He’s really funny, and has a great sense of humor, but whenever I’m talking to him I do feel the weight of each one of my words somehow being representative of my entire self, with no space for idle flippancy. It’s like if I’m not up to snuff I will be left behind when he takes the most interesting of humanity back to his home planet, Theatreworld.


Alien Laird looks at things as if he’s trying to see through our mere human reality to a deeper layer of consciousness, to see images and hear words and find movements that will express such an essential humanity that any audience cannot help but be changed.


Perhaps he’s trying to change humanity on Earth because there isn’t room on his spaceship.

So my worthiness for intergalactic theatrical salvation is a lot to deal with when just sitting across from him at a table in a coffee shop, but it is definitely worth it to experience the universe of wonder that Laird creates.


Since far too often we only publicly say nice things about people when they are dead I’ve decided to randomly pick a Facebook friend every day and say something nice about them.