So I found on via a MySpace message the other day that Carol “D” Drennan, who was my high school drama teacher, passed away on Nov 12.

It’s caused me to be a little thinking. I don’t think there are really any people who read my blog who went to high school with me, and even those of you who might (Jay, etc), I don’t think any of you knew D. In fact, I don’t really see or talk to anyone I was in theatre with in high school anymore. That’s not a good or bad thing, just something that went through my mind right now.

Reading things that other people have posted about this has gotten me thinking. I am fond of the phrase “one must make certain sacrifices for one’s art”, but until reading Julie Sparks’ post about it, I had forgotten I learned that from D. I learned the difference between “efficient” and “effective” from D. I learned that “goddamn” is a lot more offensive than “damn” from D.

I’ve had a lot of adventures so far in my life that would not have happened without my experiences in high school theatre. Even though I haven’t been consciously aware of it, there’s been a piece of what I learned on the stage from D in a lot of them. Those lessons have been with me when I was making short indie films. Those lessons have been with me when studying improv. And those lessons have been with me in one way or another in every interpersonal interaction I have had since then.

Sometimes it’s easy to figure out the influence that a teacher has had on you. I can tell you exactly what I learned from Cavanaugh. I know precisely what I learned from Starsiak. And I constantly am reminded of what I learned from Amelio. But some teachers have a more subtle impact on who you are – and the sad thing is, you tend to forget them, while they might just have had the most important lessons for you.

~ by Matt Stratton on November 17, 2006.

3 Responses to “RIP, D”

  1. I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your teacher! My drama teacher, Donald “M” Martello, passed away 4 days after my birthday in 1993. He was a wonderful director with an amazing sense of humor. During my senior year, M lost his leg to diabetes and promptly started wearing a button that read “don’t pull my leg.” He was the reason I got into improv, having suggested I might enjoy it. 13 years later I’m still improvising and, though I’ll never make a career of it, I still enjoy it and think of him and thank him often. His greatest gift to me was teaching me to enjoy what I do and if success comes – great! If it doesn’t, or I’m not having fun anymore, it’s time for a change. Life’s too short to suffer needlessly.


  2. Hi!

    I don’t know if you remember me- Laurelin Bird- I was the Aussie exchange student (91-92)… I felt so hopeless when I found out about D. I have tried to find out who I can send a card too, but searching from this end seems a bit hopeless… was in Illinois in June, and I had spoken to Angela nee Demarco about D then, but I am kicking myself so hard that I didn’t track her down…. I was only at Willowbrook for one year, and she left a permanent imprint on my heart… You have to have known her to really get it… she was a tough broad with a huge heart, and big open arms- she loved to make people be the best they can be… She is going to be sadly missed..


  3. Hey, Matt. Thanks for finding me and for copying your journal entry into mine. Were you at the memorial service yesterday? (3 December)? D meant so much to so many. The strength of that woman’s love was amazing and neverending.

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