I knew, somehow, that when the time for writing this rolled around that I would be at a loss for words. I’ll try my best.
James Cockrell has been so many things to me in the time I’ve known him. A confidante, a shoulder to cry on, a best friend, a brother, a life-saver, etc. He is the one true Carmen Ghia to my Roger DeBris. I truly believe that the moment his presence in my life shifted to one of great importance was the moment that my life shifted toward an upward trajectory; one where everything was possible.
I will never allow myself to forget riding in a wheelbarrow with him on the first day of school our Junior year as Mark pushed us along. I couldn’t bear to lose the memories of countless hours spent in each others’ rooms, allowing ourselves to be teenagers for a small glimpse of reality among the otherwise demanding experience of boarding school.
I love watching James work. His passion (and as is often the case with passion, subsequent frustration) when tearing into a scene is admirable. Watching him almost effortlessly bear the emotional weight of Israel Horovitz’s Hopscotch in our Acting Technique class was a stunning example of the simplicity that allows actors to transcend boundaries of age and experience. It was a great privilege to watch him understudy me as Isaac in Platonov, and I’m so glad he was able to perform the show when I ended up in the hospital for our final dress. He truly deserved the chance. He was Benny to my Mark in Rent, and I’m so thankful to the gods of theatre that he was there with me each night as we crossed paths during “Seasons of Love”. I’m grateful for getting to direct him while he delved into his sensitive, caring soul to deliver a brilliant performance of a piece in Mass Cycle: A Meditation on Cancer. I also got to direct him in Controlling Interest in which he led a cast of younger actors with grace, precision, and playfulness. I’m bewildered by his talents and dedication.
I cried after graduation upon the realization that he would be so far from me during the formative first years of university training. This wasn’t even the plan!! He was supposed to be 2 hours away maximum!! But life happens. And his life is happening! And I’m thrilled and proud.
This doesn’t express the luminescence that this boy is to me. For truly, I know, we are just beginning.
I love you so very dearly, James Cockrell, and I hope you have a smug smile and a drink in your hand right now. I will see you soon.
P.S. Book good?
P.P.S. Happy birthday.
P.P.P.S. Do birthdays mean less when you are already legal drinking age where you live? Asking for a friend.
P.P.P.P.S. Please return to the United States of America in due time.