Kerns: Deceased Tech theater student Gabrielle Barajas remembered in reception

A reception, or celebration of the life of the late Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ M. Barajas, 20, will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Charles E. Maedgen Jr. Mainstage Theatre, 2812 18th St. on the Texas Tech campus.

 

The event is open to anyone who wants to attend. Mark Charney, chairman of the Texas Tech School of Theatre and Dance, feels that attendance might be limited to the university’s theater family.

“And that’s alright,” he added.

There is no limit to pain generated by lives lost young, whether expressed within questions asked silently by baffled parents, or tears expressed openly by friends and family.

Charney, however, proposed that the loss of a student working in the theater school, may touch a greater percentage of majors, minors and faculty — if only because so many in the theater school know one another. Many work together on collaborative projects.

In the case of Gabby, said Charney, “She volunteered for everything.

“There wasn’t anything she was unwilling to do.”

An improvised choreography will be performed by dance students, with Charney calling it a partial repetition of original choreography first performed in tribute of Tech police officer Floyd East Jr., killed in the line of duty on Oct. 9, 2017.

Gabby, born Dec. 30, 1996, died during a highway accident on Dec. 19 while returning to campus.

Charney plans to read a short letter received from Gabby, one in which she comments on his socks in humorous fashion. In addition, Charney said all students and faculty wanting to share a few words about the deceased will be allowed.

Charney and Tech theater publicist Cory Norman mentioned that Gabby’s parents commented about her pride in a one-act play she had completed writing for the annual Red Raider One Act Play Spectacular, held April 3-7 at the Creative Movement Studio on the Tech campus. Charney said, “Her parents asked us if her play might still be performed, and we said, “Of course.”

Norman Bert, professor of playwriting in the Tech School of Theatre and Dance, explained, “Gabby’s play is called ‘All Things Go,’ In her play, a prelaw student has returned to her home in the barrio for the funeral of her younger brother, who died in a drug deal gone bad. Her remaining brother comes to her with a request that may change her life.”

However, the project that had been keeping Barajas busy is the Maedgen Jr. Lab Theatre production of playwright Sarah Ruhl’s “Passion Play;” Gabby had been working hard as stage manager.

The play will be performed for the general public Monday through Feb. 11.

Lauren V. Miller, the play’s director, commented,”Gabby Barajas, was a student here at Tech who passed away over break. She had served as assistant stage manager on a show I acted in last school year. We had a great working relationship, so I made sure to snatch her up as my stage manager for my thesis project, ‘Passion Play.’

“It was wonderful, watching her begin to really trust herself as stage manager in the rehearsal room. She was really learning how to control the space, while making sure everyone’s needs were met.

“Her laugh was the most contagious laugh you could find. And she cared so much about her peers. She loved this show, our design/production team, and actors.”

Miller concluded, “Even though Gabby is not with us now, you can still feel her energy and presence in the rehearsal room every night. I know I speak on behalf of the entire ‘Passion Play’ team when I say that we miss her, and that we are honored to be able to dedicate this show to her.”

Chat about movies, theater, music, dance and visual arts at my blog playBill by Kerns at lubbockonline.com — or check out Twitter at AJ_WilliamKerns.

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william.kerns@lubbockonline.com 766-8712

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