May 4, 2010 at 11:41 pm (Uncategorized)

Another faculty member died today (technically yesterday, May 4…it’s just a few minutes past midnight as I type) from cancer. This marks the second professor/teacher/esteemed and distinguished person in our theater department to be claimed by cancer in just two years.  Dr. Esiaba Irobi, a poet, playwright and more, was a teacher at OU and his classes, I’ve heard tell, were incredible. I never got the chance to take one–he was often out ill, and only taught a few courses which never fit into my schedule. I’m not quite sure what type of cancer he had, but I’m hoping he didn’t suffer too much. According to this article, he’s survived by his wife and the enormous amount of published works he put forth, not to mention the unpublished. He died in Germany yesterday at the age of 49. Read the article if you’d like to know more–I know I do. I wish I had known him and could have benefited from his knowledge. I take comfort in realizing that even if I haven’t had an experience with him, many other people have, and I know they are grateful.

Ursula Belden, who died in January 2009, was pretty much known as a god around my department–or to me, at least. She was the head of our Production, Design and Technology department, as well as a Distinguished Professor of scene design (according to this article). I didn’t know much about her, but I knew she was terribly talented and quite a nice person who encouraged innovation and artistry. She won many awards for off-Broadway designs and has many Broadway credits to her name; I think she’s probably the main reason why our program is so well known for excellence. We knew it was coming–she had been ill for awhile, and while she managed to hold out for the holidays, her health couldn’t last.

It makes me sad to know that we’ve lost two great minds and personalities within such a short time. I hope to God that we do not experience a third. I hope everyone goes home tonight and hugs a loved one or calls someone on the phone to say how much they care. Let the people in your life know that you appreciate them and love them.

For more on Ursula Belden or Esiaba Irobi, please visit the articles I have listed. Searching them on google wouldn’t hurt either. Let’s pray for a cure for cancer.


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