Excerpt From Chris Parry Memorial Service


The following abridged text is from the Memorial Chapel service held recently in California for Chris Parry:

“I cannot believe Chris has gone from our lives. Chris was a wonderful husband and father, a dedicated friend, a brilliant artist and teacher with exquisite human contradictions. Stanislavski and Kierkegaard, in their writings, both alluded to the powerful contradictions within us all. What appears paradoxical to the mind only adds profundity to our view of the human soul. This is why we love him so much and will always love him. For 18 years we had an amazing friendship. We both journeyed a long distance to join UCSD and we built a new extended family in the process. After a life in England, Chris found California to be his paradise. I've had the honor of seeing over a dozen of Chris's shows in this country and in Britain. He sculpted and painted powerful stage compositions through his deep feeling for narrative mood and original perspectives. He worked with a vast array of the greatest directors in the theatre today. Chris always supported the play's text and the unifying hand of the director. He made every director look fabulous. He enriched each character of the play and the full psychological landscape. Chris played with light masterly like the finest Dutch painters Vermeer and Rembrandt. He liked to say as if he coined the expression, "Let there be light!" His creative explorations made pronounced demands on advanced technology and yet Chris's stage productions rarely appear overwhelmed by technology and machinery. He was a designer that made actors feel, look, and sound thoroughly outstanding. He took on a new challenge with the musical Chalawan at the Patravadi Theatre in Thailand. All of his unforgettable production designs were ephemeral and unique. In so many ways, he interpreted a tangible world that exists on the cusp of the fantastical. One simply must call this “Parry Prestidigitation.” Always, Chris managed to teach these breathtaking inventions in his quiet, modest manner to every graduate student and all undergraduate students. He enriched the lives of all of his colleagues at UCSD. Light and shadow. Chris taught us the magnificence of traveling between light and shadow. He heightened our awareness of beautiful, sublime pictures on earth and in the heavens. Like the major star that he became, Chris's light will live on forever. God bless him.”

—Allan Havis, Provost and Head of MFA Playwriting
Thurgood Marshall College
University of California, San Diego

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