I just found out that George Latshaw passed away.
When I was in college, I got an internship at the Center for Puppetry Arts. To add to my good fortune, I was assigned to the cast of Wizard of Oz, directed by George Latshaw. I had already read his book, The Complete Book of Puppetry, and was stunned to be able to work with him.
He was kind, witty, charming and wouldn’t let me get away with anything less than my best. My work in puppetry was so strongly shaped by the month under his tutelage, that I can’t even begin to dissect what George taught me from my understanding of the art form. The following summer, I went to the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center for the National Puppetry Conference and spent ten intense days working on George’s Bonsai Boy. I remember him saying that he’d spent his whole life with one foot in puppetry and one foot in theater and that he wanted to be able to stand with both feet under him. My God, that connected with me and still does.
The thing about George that remains so inspiring is that he was constantly engaged with life and pushing the boundaries of the art form. I’ve said before that I wanted to be George Latshaw when I grew up; by that I mean that I want to maintain that childlike enthusiasm and interest in life. Oh. Oh, I miss him.