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Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Death of well-known theatre personality, lecturer and author.

Sad news received from Angela Muspratt-Williams, Western Cape Regional Coordinator of the Performing Arts Network of SA (PANSA) to inform artSMart that well-known theatre personality Guy Willoughby died this morning (August 11, 2009). Many KZN theatre-goers will remember him for his hilarious one-man show Major Shissterrer.

The following is a tribute from actress and playwright Fiona Coyne:

Performer, playwright, author, academic, journalist, lecturer, bon vivant and humourist – these were the public faces of Guy Willoughby. He was the passionate expert on Oscar Wilde and Bob Dylan. The flamboyant and mercurial charmer, ever ready with a witticism and a gallant gesture. He never walked up stairs, he bounded. He didn’t smile; he twinkled.

But the private Guy, or Buch as we knew him, was also a deeply spiritual man and an extraordinarily generous friend. Generous with his warmth, his time, his counsel and his love. He was one of those people you literally could call up at three in the morning and he’d be there for you.

He lived boldly, sometimes wildly. And yet there was a strong sense of duty, too, an almost Protestant ethic of what was ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. So perhaps he was just your ‘typical creative type’? Intense, brilliant, dazzling and a little dark, too. But for those of us who are lucky enough to have called him Friend, there was nothing ‘typical’ about him. He will be missed more sorely than the telling of it can convey.

Germaine Greer once said that human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves but when that right is pre-empted it is called brainwashing. Guy Willoughby would have made Ms. Greer proud. He was entirely his own person, to the very end. He invented and re-invented himself many times over, dictated to only by himself. He would often sign off his e-mails and text messages thus: From Buch, The Boy Traveler. Great wordsmith that he was, it is hardly surprising that in that pithy little sign off he was able to describe himself better than any of us ever could have. Travel well, darling Buch!

Fiona Coyne, Cape Town, August 11 2009