Sean Gaffney launched my career

Happy 50th Birthday to Sean Gaffney!

Sean and I in Colorado, July 1995.
Sean launched a 20 year career in the performing arts for me. I’m sure that’s not what he had in mind when he invited me to drive out to Seattle from NYC to take the position of managing director at Taproot Theatre, but when I said yes to the trip I quit my day job forever. He and I pulled together some of our own sketches, including Sean’s “Lazarus," which I still perform all over the world in a one-man version. We drove together six days and performed together just about every night. Somewhere out there between jumping over a 15’ cyclone fence and running through a cemetery in a Nebraska downpour only to discover the folks we were supposed to perform for in a park on the other side of that cemetery decided to go camping instead, to long chats about good and bad plays, to the Lamb’s Theatre where we met, Sean encouraged me not to go back to my day job. Miraculously I never have, and Sean was a very big part of that.

We both happened to be in London early this July, 20 years to the month after we started that trek. I was tremendously disappointed that our schedules didn’t quite coincide, but the Lord connected us in a very cool way. I was in London to perform with John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Beyond the Mask) and Helen George (Call the Midwife) for an audio movie on Alfred the Great ( Toward the end of one day a colleague approached me: “Is your last name Swingle?” I confirmed it, and he said, “I’m about to have tea with your friends Sean and Cath Gaffney.” I was tremendously disappointed that I couldn’t join them, but I sensed the Lord celebrating two decades of artistic service in that Divine appointment.

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1 comment:

Tracy Campbell said...

Hi Rich,
Just read your uplifting post about Sean Gaffney. It's a small world. I don't think Sean would remember me, but he taught a few years back at a Canadian Christian Conference, and I was fortunate enough to attend his fabulous seminars. Sean, if you're ready this, I hope you had a terrific birthday.