On Mark A. Beal

(According to Kipling
via Urbanowicz)!

Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz/Professor of Anthropology
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
Telephone: 530-898-6220 [Office]; 530-898-6192 [Dept.] FAX: 530-898-6824
e-mail: curbanowicz@csuchico.edu & home page: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/CourtTheaJune10.html]

June 10, 2001 [1]

Some of you may know me as a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, a member of the CSU, Chico faculty since 1973; some may recognize me as an amateur thespian: at the June 11, 2000, Court Theatre Fifth Annual Benefit Performance Potpourri, my wife Sadie and I reprised a brief scene from Arsenic and Old Lace (where my b'loved Sadie portrayed "dear sweet Miss Abbie") from the November 14-19, 1999 Encore! Community Theatre production (and the Managing Director of Encore! was Katie Beal). Gary Hibbs directed Arsenic and Old Lace and Mark Beal did the set. Some of you might recognize me from campus productions such as the 1998 Court Theatre's See How They Run (directed by Sue Pate) or last year's The Madwoman of Chaillot, also directed by Sue. Madwoman was performed on a wondrous set created by Mark in the Larry Wismer Theatre, complete with second story balcony! It should suffice to say that I've been around Mark and his work for many years and I've been around this campus for almost three decades: my goal is to emulate Harlen Adams who died at the age of 93 (1904-1997) after a successful academic, community, and theatrical career! (I was fortunate to share the stage with Harlen, as the head waiter in the 1996 CSU, Chico production of La Bohème directed by Professor Gwen Curatilo.) I have seen numerous theatrical productions, both here and off-campus, and the work that Mark Beal does is wonderful!

Mark has created fascinating visuals and has also performed and directed. If you saw Sorry! Wrong Chminey (by Encore! Community Theatre) over the days of December 11-20, 1998, you saw Mark as "William Weldon" in that production; if you saw Murder on The Rerun, as part of Court Theatre last Summer (June 27-July 1, 2000), it was directed by Mark! He is an extremely talented and personable individual and it is my pleasure to add a few words about him this evening!

I appreciate Mark and I also appreciate the words of Rudyard Kipling. Kipling has been a favorite of mine for numerous years. Born in India on December 30, 1865, Kipling died January 18, 1936, and in 1907 he was the first English author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Kipling is often associated with the "Age of Imperialism" but as an anthropologist, I enjoy the resonance of numerous Kipling stanzas, including the following from "In The Neolithic Age" (1892/1893): "There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays. And every single one of them is right." Now, as far as I know, Mark doesn't construct tribal lays, but he does construct exquisite visual delights, and "every single one of them is right." Other words of Kipling come to mind when I think of the calm man with two red sneakers, especially words for Kipling's celebrated If (from 1910): 

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too....

Well…. If goes on for many more lines, and Mark does keep his head; but my favorite "Kipling Words" concerning Mark actually are as follows, with apologies to the poet! And my "memory gene" is such (or lacking!), that I shall read the following!

You may not think of scrim and lights
When you see the theatre sights
An' you've come to see a pretty-show-of-it;
Yet when it comes to lighting
You can't outdo the sighting
Of the wondrous magic of ol' Mark Beal.

Now in Chico's sunny clime,
Where I still put in m' time
A-serving all the-tax-payers of the state,
Of all the stagecraft folk
The finest one - they spoke,
Was Theatre Art's own wondrous Mr. Beal.

"It was "Go! Go! Go!
We've got to do a show!!
And the budget is so tiny you would cry!"

So he shared with us his skills
Provided wondrous theatre thrills
And did several shows-a-season, by the bye!

Now, the equipment that he 'ad,
Wasn't all so bad,
Save for budget cuts and breakage o'er the years.
But Mark, he knows 'is stuff,
Was never-ever gruff,
So students learned a lot with little tears!

"Set the clamp
Pull the cleat
Don't drop the flat on sandalled feet!
LDI, DMX512,
Know it all, USITT well!"


USITT = United States Institute of Theatre Technology.
LDI = Lighting Dimensions International Trade Show.
DMX512 = Standard protocol for communication between consoles and dimmers.
Flat = A wooden frame covered with canvas uses as a scenic unit.
Cleat = Metal hardware for securing a flat.
Clamp = C-type clamp!

Oh, and a SCRIM is a "finely woven material through which light may or may not be seen, depending on how it is lit." Interesting!

It was "Mark, Mark, Mark!
Don't keep us in the dark,
Create the sets and lights that help to make the show!
Light-it up and make our faces glow!" 

And so he did his stuff,
Didn't shout or huff or puff,
And the shows--they simply beautifully flowed. 

It was "Mark! Mark! Mark!
You fight against the dark,
And make for us the semblance of a dream."

So off from here you'll go,
With Katie and kids in tow,
To pass along your knowledge as a stream. 

So all:

You may not think of scrim and lights,
When you look at theatre sights
But think about the show and how you feel.

With gels, and grids, and props,
The magic never stops,
And you can't outdo the work of ol' Mark Beal 

With red sneakers on his feet
He's the nicest man you'll meet,
In the world of theatre folk that we all know. 

So when he leaves this place,
There'll be tears on many a'face,
For his wondrous magic love in every show! 
* * *

In doing some research (for I am not a Theatre Arts professional, although I love the theatre), I came across the following in Thomas A. Kelly's 1999 publication, The Back Stage Guide to Stage Management: "However, if you are that rare person in the world of theater who has the talent, as Rudyard Kipling said, to 'keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,' then read on" (page 16) and I did! And the specific terminology mentioned above came from Lawrence Stern's 1995 publication, Stage Management (and for additional sources, please see "NOTE" below).

Two final quotes pertaining to Mark, who is one of the calmest and nicest people that I know: Kipling wrote that "More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies" (The Phantom 'Rickshaw, 1888) and Somerset Maugham [1874-1965], in commenting on Kipling had the following: "I can't believe he will be equaled. I am sure he can never be excelled [stress added]" (1953, Maugham's Choice of Kipling's Best, n.p.); the same words can be applied to 'Ol Mark Beal! Thank you Mark and Katie for being part of Chico for as long as you were!

"A teacher affects eternity;
he [or she!] can never tell
where his [or her] influence stops."
Henry Brooks Adams [1838-1918],
The Education of Henry Adams, chapter 20

Mark Beal
Katie Beal

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1. © For a presentation on June 10, 2001, at the Sixth Annual Benefit Performance: Memories and More at California State University, Chico, California; my wife Sadie, who assisted me with the variation of "Gunga Din" (and who bears no blame for it) was, unfortunately, unable to attend today, but she is also deeply impressed with Mark. To see a few of Mark's contributions to the theatre, please see the following http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/CourtMarkSpecifics.html. To return to the beginning of this page, please click here

Additional "stage terminology" information may be found at:

http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~ian/saa99/thintro.html [An Early Modern English Terminology]
http://drama1.cfa.cmu.edu/web/vocab.html [Glossary of Non-Standard Theatrical Terminology]
http://www.theatrecrafts.com/glossary/glossary.html [Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms]
http://www.sag.com/terminology.html [Terminology of the Craft]
http://www.schoolshows.demon.co.uk/resources/technical/gloss1.htm [School Page: Glosarry of Theatre Terms]


Various information on Rudyard Kipling may be found at:

http://www.kipling.org.uk/ [The Kipling Society]
http://landow.stg.brown.edu/victorian/kipling/kiplingov.html [Kipling Overview} From The Victorian Web]
http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/kipling_ind.html [Complete Collection of Kipling Poems]
http://almaz.com/nobel/literature/1907a.html [On Kipling and 1907 Nobel Prize]
http://www.geocities.com/gunjansaraf/kipling.htm [Humorous Quotes of Rudyard Kipling]

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To go to the home page of Charles F. Urbanowicz.

To go to the home page of the Department of Anthropology.

To go to the home page of California State University, Chico.

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/CourtTheaJune10.html]

© [Copyright: All Rights Reserved] Charles F. Urbanowicz

10 June 2001 by CFU

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