Celebrating Cassie Powers
A Remembrance written by Dear friend, acting partner, and Fellow PwA student, Michael Dare.
It's safe to say Cassie Powers and I met cute. You can picture it in a movie, like La La Land: Seattle, only instead of a traffic jam, it's a Path with Art acting class at Theater Schmeater taught by Caroline Brown, the students shuffling in, finding seats, when a middle-aged woman plops down her backpack and starts singing, “Another opening, another show.” A middle-aged man just entering the theater picks up the cue and sings, "From Philly, Boston, or Baltimo" and she looks around, surprised, as if to say, who could that be?
That was the first of dozens and dozens of songs we sang together. It was so rare to run into someone else who had memorized every song from every musical they had ever seen that we just couldn't stop. I'm not sure about the world but we both thought we were hilarious…
This wasn't a musical theater class, so rather than singing, we spent most of our time rehearsing Death of a Salesman. We were the Lomans – the saddest couple in American theater – but, picture me as George Burns, and her as Lucille Ball. Surprisingly, it worked!
Our musical relationship continued throughout Path with Art and Seattle Repertory Theatre Public Works’ production of The Odyssey where I played an Ithican, she played a Siren, and we hung out at the Cafe Ithica backstage annoying people with random Gilbert and Sullivan patter songs.
Our final performance together was in Caroline Brown's Path with Art Shakespeare workshop where we threw our hearts and souls into Catherine and Petruchio, the famous Act 2, scene 1 in The Taming of the Shrew where they meet.
Cassie had an idea: "We should do it in an internet cafe." Brilliant. And so, we set up the scene, back to back on laptops, unaware we're right next to each other while trying to pick each other up online. During class, we had an amazing acting moment, as though Shakespeare himself came back through the centuries to tell us he wrote The Taming of the Shrew specifically for us.
I figured we would perform again at the Path with Art fall showcase at the Seattle Art Museum, where we would bring the house down. But when I called her to set up a rehearsal, she told me she was in the hospital and she wasn't sure she'd be out in time for the performance. She told me she'd call as soon as she was released, I told her to get better – and that was it, our last conversation. I went to the showcase, but couldn't concentrate. I hoped she might somehow come by just to see the show, but they'd throw us in the schedule at the last minute, and we'd bring the house down without even brushing up our Shakespeare.
I was looking forward to seeing her at the new Path with Art/Seattle Repertory Public Works class in preparation for the new production of As You Like It, and was surprised she didn't show up. I later learned that Cassie passed away on January 31st due to complications from heart trouble. Talk about irreplaceable. I'll find another role to play, another class to take, another song to sing, but I will never find another Cassie.
You can find Michael Dare and view his original post at facebook.com/dareland.