Betty and I learned the sad news this week that the founder of the Jean Cocteau Repertory and one of the regular directors of the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Eve Adamson, died suddenly this week. She was 69 years old.
She started the Cocteau in the 70s in the East Village; she was the first to stage the Ballet Trocadero in New York. When Betty went to her to explain her gender issues, she didn’t miss a beat, and reminded us that she knew Candy Darling.
She was that kind of artistic person, a New Yorker who was around when New York was reinventing the world, & art, & culture. It was people like her who created the New York I wanted to live in. It seems somehow fitting to me that she would make her exit the same month that CBGB will finally close its doors; they were both of an era that is over.
But more than that, she was a woman who formed a theatre company in the 70s, when the theatre world was still very much a man’s world (which, some say, it still is). But there is no doubt it was in the 70s, and she did the classics – but always insisted on them being relevant to today’s audience.
Seeing her direction of Oedipus in the days after 9/11 with the actors intoning, “My city, my city…” brought that out a little too clearly.
She directed the last play that Tennesee Williams would see premiered in New York in his lifetime.
Without women like her, I couldn’t be doing what I do now. It is reassuring in her death to know that she did what she wanted to do for most of her life; she kept doing her art, she kept telling her actors to find their light, she kept breathing new life into classic plays and bringing whole new audiences under their sway.
Eve, theatre will miss you, New York will miss you, & I will miss you.
Her friends and fans are free to leave their own messages here.