- Tim Wright
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Memories of Tim Wright
In Memoriam: Timothy Wright
"Take your leap with me and skip and dance and prove that you can't fall off the mountain when you have magic and golden love in your heart - and realize, that I will be right beside you."
Isabel Gold, Arts and Features
December 7, 2011
Filed under A&E, Top Stories, Westridge News
Tim Wright, Middle and Upper School teacher and director of Westridge’s drama productions, was the goofy, magical uncle you never had. If you walked out of rehearsal to go to the bathroom, he would instruct the cast to stare blankly into one corner, stifling their nervous giggles as you walk back into the room. He would entertain you by guessing what color hair you had (he was colorblind.) If lights were dim, he never hesitated to frighten you
with the eeriest stories ever uttered on the Westridge campus. Whether Mr. Wright really did encounter a roomful of mannequins, or did see the ghostly girl with the chipped tooth didn’t matter. You were frightened; you twitched at the sight of the cotton-filled stocking dummies strewn across the green room, and you never looked at people’s teeth the same way again.
Mr. Wright’s stories were entrancing, and you wanted to hear them all. His office
was never empty after school. Between bites of ice-cream sandwiches or sips of
tea that you dutifully brought to him from the Commons, Mr. Wright would draw
you in with one of his puns or recent cell phone pictures of his two kittens,
but many of his stories were beautiful and poignant.
“I saw my father’s ghost a few years ago,” he said last year. He described the
perfection of the image he saw, from “the exact tilt of his fedora” to “the
wrinkles on his suit.” The figure, which he neither confirmed nor denied was
the true vestige of his father, gave him an odd sense of peace. He smiled at
us. I and the others huddled around me looked at each other in quiet
understanding – we were all touched.
Mr. Wright passed away this weekend, leaving behind generations of students who
knew him as a hero. He knew how to find the musicality in every actor, writer
and director. He knew the rhythms, the melodies, of heated dialogues, or
pleading monologues. When he instructed his actors to be crisp as fresh iceberg
lettuce, or to swagger in real-time like John Wayne, he created fearless
performers. He held your hand and guided you to the height of expression.
He was accomplished: after receiving his MFA in Dramatic Art with honors from University of California, Davis, he became a celebrated playwright and director, with his plays showing across the world, from New Zealand to Switzerland. However, Mr. Wright
made his home here at Westridge, as a director and teacher for almost 20 years.
Through his inspiring direction, he heightened the standard of high-school
theater, and others saw this. He received University of Chicago’s Outstanding Teacher
award in 2000, the Who’s Who in America’s Teachers award in
2002, 2005, 2006, and was recognized as a Teacher Making a Difference by the
California State Senate, California State Assembly, and California Board of
Equalization in 2006.
The day before he passed away on Friday evening, Mr. Wright asked Head of School
Elizabeth McGregor to deliver words of encouragement to the cast of Steel
Magnolias, the last production he would oversee during his 19-year career at
Westridge: “Take your leap with me, and skip and dance and prove that you can’t
fall off the mountain when you have magic and golden love in your heart – and
realize, that I will be right beside you.”
A tribute assembly for Tim Wright will be held on Friday, Dec. 9 at 9:30 A.M.
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