Oakley Hall III
Oakley "Tad" Hall III (May 26, 1950 – February 13, 2011) was an American playwright, director, and author. The eldest child of novelist Oakley Hall and photographer Barbara E. Hall, Oakley attended University of California Irvine and Boston University. By age 28, he was a rising star in the New York theatre scene. In the mid-1970s, his play Mike Fink was optioned by Joseph Papp of the Public Theater. Oakley founded and was the artistic director of the Lexington Conservatory Theatre in upstate New York, where his plays Grinder's Stand and Beatrice (Cenci) and the Old Man, and his stage adaptation of Frankenstein, enjoyed their première productions.
In 1978, Hall suffered massive head injuries in a fall from a bridge. He eventually returned to California to live in Nevada City near his family; there his play Grinder's Stand, which he had been writing at the time of his accident, was produced by The Foothill Theatre Company, directed by Philip Sneed. The story of this production, entwined with Oakley's fall and the slow process of creating a new life, are movingly told in Bill Rose's award-winning documentary, The Loss of Nameless Things.
Oakley made a lifelong study of the pre-surrealist playwright Alfred Jarry, and over the years translated several of Jarry's plays from the original French. In 2008, Hall moved to Albany, New York to live with Hadiya Wilborn, who fostered a collaboration with acclaimed puppeteer Ed Atkeson. This resulted in a production of one of Jarry's translated plays, Ubu Rex, performed by the Firlefanz Puppets at Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany, New York, directed by Oakley, with Steven Patterson in the title role. In the fall of 2010, Moving Finger Press published Oakley's novel, Jarry and Me, in which Oakley intertwines a memoir of his own life with a sly "autobiography" of Jarry. One of the last sentences of the book is, "Jarry dies with a grin on his face."
On February 13, 2011, Hall died of a heart attack at his Albany home. He is survived by his two children, Oakley and Elizabeth.
Some of Hall's writings are available online at www.absintheurpress.com, in a collection which is continually being supplemented.
The Highlander Theater Company of Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury, CT performed Oakley Hall III's Frankenstein in March 2012. This was the first production of this play in three decades. http://www.chasecollegiate.org/page.cfm?p=136
- Playwright, actor Oakley Hall - Times Union
- Jacob Adelman, "Bill Rose Set Out to Film Oakley Hall III's Demise, But What He Found Was Rebirth", San Francisco Chronicle, May 11, 2005
- Pierre Joris' blog, February 14, 2011
- Independent Lens - The Loss of Nameless Things