Before I was involved as heavily as I am in the local theatre community, I was a film student in the Television and Film Arts program at SUNY Buffalo State. I was working on a project about two middle aged superheroes who had just lost their health insurance benefits, and who were thinking about becoming villains to regain what they had lost. I held some auditions, and that is where I met Scot. Scot delivered a headshot, he read for me, and he gave me a DVD of a production that he had been in with Rocking Horse Productions where he willingly threw himself down a set of stairs. The show was ‘Noises Off.’ He was an actor if I had ever seen one, or incredibly out of his mind, both which may be considered one in the same. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a part for Scot in the original installment of the production, but we kept in touch.
My buddy, Kyle Mecca, an up and coming filmmaker in the area, cast Scot in a film that I was helping on, and that is where I really got to know him. His sense of humor had me in stitches, and his presence was warm and welcoming. At the time “Rachel from Card Holder Services” was a frequent caller to my house and his, and we would call each other on the prop phone used on the film, giving her a backstory and setting up strange circumstances for which she would call. It was an inside joke that lasted for years, even up until the last time I saw Scot, a few weeks ago.
Years later, I finally had a role for Scot in a film project I was working on, the spin-off to the superhero comedy. I had the honor and privilege of working with him, and getting to know him more. His work ethic and professionalism was astounding, and he was always dependable. He was just a fun guy to be around.
As a theatre reviewer, I had the opportunity to review Scot’s performances a few times, and I was always impressed by his stage presence, and his ability to take a character that may be one-dimensional, and make them fun and entertaining. My two favorite roles of his was Scot in “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)” – read review here – and as Patsy in “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”
I returned to acting in 2016, and Scot came to see the production of “Little Shop of Horrors” that I was in. He stayed after to say hello and offer his kind words. Even though he knew most of the cast, I felt that he was there just to see me. He was always supportive of his friends in their acting and theatre endeavors. Supportive is not always a word that can be used to describe members of an artistic community, but Scot branded that support. We had talks about working together one day, hoping to be cast in the same show, but sadly, that chance did not come around.
When I learned that Scot was sick, I wasn’t very nervous, because I knew that he was a fighter, and that he wasn’t going to go quietly. I knew he would give it his all to get back to health, to get back to his dogs, to get back to his friends, and to get back to the stage. It was completely heartbreaking to find that his fight with the illness was taking a rapid toll on him, and that we would lose him so quickly.
As soon as I heard Scot had passed, the somber feeling of emptiness took over, and instantly I felt a void. The outpour of support from the theatre community, sharing stories, pictures, and messages was a magical thing. We lost a good man, way too soon. If I learned anything from Scot’s passing, it’s that we need to tell those in our lives who mean something to us, what they mean to us. Life is too short, and also, life can be extremely unfair.
The next time Rachel from Card Holder Services calls, I’ll laugh as I hang up on her, knowing Scot would appreciate it.
Rest easy, my friend.
Categories: By John Szablewski