Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thank-you Ken Campbell

Listening to the radio this weekend I learned that theatre artist Ken Campbell has died.

Ken Campbell was a gift to the world.

My own life was enriched by being in the audience at the LSPU Hall at some of his several one man shows which he performed in Newfoundland. How lucky are we at all. He would push his pram of props out and for the next few hours it would be Ken Campbell and whatever was in that pram. He would revel and regale, pull out book after book, meander through a convoluted trail of absurd theories, truth, and foolishness with a connoisseur's appreciation for the ridiculous and charm your very nervous system. He was funny in a way that made you think in ways you couldn't describe, laugh both audibly and inaudibly, experience humour in ways only detectable far in the future by beings not yet sentient.

I remember hearing that Italians throw flowers at their beloved opera singers. At the end of every Ken Campbell show I felt a pang of loss that the experience was over and regret that I could not possibly clap and cheer enough to express my gratitude for the gut laughs of the brain he had given me and why oh why didn't I have a bouquet of the most beautiful flowers to throw at his feet.

I always hoped that someday Ken Campbell would return to the Newfoundland stage - it's a long while since he's been here. It was a wonderful thing to look forward to - with his passing, a loss in deed.

Someone irrepressible is no longer with us. But such gifts left in their wake. So many experiential artefacts to be thankful for. I for one will have unpredictable ironic absurd sardonic brain chuckles for the rest of my laugh, I mean life, thanks to Ken Campbell.

Here is a link to the Gaurdian Obituary on the passing of Ken Campbell:

Ken Campbell
Experimental writer, theatre director and improviser, he was one of the strangest people in Britain
Michael Coveney,
Monday September 01 2008 13:15