Directors Cheryl Ann Cluff and Kay Shean reflect on working with actor David Fetzer

David Fetzer with Jesse Harward in THE END OF THE HORIZON

David Fetzer with Jesse Harward in THE END OF THE HORIZON

David Fetzer created the role of Everett Ruess in Debora Threedy’s THE END OF THE HORIZON in 2008, directed by Kay Shean and the role of Arthur Dimmesdale in Jenifer Nii’s adaption of THE SCARLET LETTER in 2012, his final stage role, directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff.  David passed away in December of 2012.  His family has established the David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, aka The Davey Foundation, to ensure that David’s love of music, film and theatre lives on.

Kay Shean, Director, THE END OF THE HORIZON:  David Fetzer was the kind of actor every director dreams of finding. He was special. He was unique and amazingly talented. Genuine to the core, it showed in every move he made and every word he spoke both on and off the stage. Before we started rehearsals for “The End of the Horizon,” some of the cast members, the playwright, Debora Threedy and I took a road trip to the red rock area of Southern Utah to experience places Everett Ruess loved and where he disappeared. I held my breath as David leapt from ledge to ledge, scampered up close to sheer cliffs and stood statue-still, soaking in the reality of the place, letting it fuse into the Everett he was going to create. In rehearsal, he brought all of that and much more. In performance, he was magic. At one point during rehearsals, a cast member told me when you were in a scene with David, he was so there, it pulled everything to another level. I watched this happen time and time again. That was David. His creativity was astonishing. He made us all better. Directing him was a joy.

David Fetzer with Lauren Byington-Noll in THE SCARLET LETTER

David Fetzer with Lauren Byington-Noll in THE SCARLET LETTER

Cheryl Ann Cluff, Director, THE SCARLET LETTER:  When I heard David was auditioning for THE SCARLET LETTER, while I loved him in the Everett Ruess role in THE END OF THE HORIZON, I was skeptical about how he’d be able to handle something less contemporary. How wrong I was. He pretty much nailed Dimmesdale and handled the heightened language beautifully the second he opened his mouth in his audition. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

When I think of what it was like working with David during the rehearsal process, one word keeps popping into my head: delightful. He had a playful (sometimes mischievous) innocence about him which was wonderful in contrast with Dimmesdale’s torment and despair that he portrayed with so much depth and quiet power.

We talked a lot about how spineless Dimmesdale was and how David disliked that about him. He dug deep into Dimmesdale, inviting the audience to see much more than the cowardice. Melissa Leilani Larson from Utah Theatre Bloggers Association couldn’t have said it better in her review. “I understand Dimmesdale better than I have before, seeing him now as a man torn between fulfilling his calling and redeeming his own soul, rather than as a simple coward.

Plan-B Theatre Company, in partnership with the David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists aka The Davey Foundation, seeks new plays from playwrights 35 years old and younger who reside in Utah, are Utah natives, or who otherwise have a substantial Utah connection.  Click here for guidelines – submissions are now being accepted with a deadline January 31, 2014.  The winning submission will be produced as part of Plan-B’s 2014/15 season.

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