Yesterday, Frances Davis (known in the pages of this blog as Franke) passed away after a short but intense battle with cancer. It’s only been a little over two months since we found out she had been diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma that had metastasized in her brain.
Needless to say, it’s been a rough week.
Frances started doing shows at the theater in 2004. We became fast friends after I cast her in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. We had lots of fun times in those first ten years. We pretty much hung out every weekend and saw lots of movies, went on art walks, attended lots of parties, and worked on a lot of shows at the theater.
Some Random Memories (Because There are Just Too Many):
– She would go to horror movies with me even though she didn’t like them all that much. Eventually, she refused to go to any more after seeing the remake of The Hills Have Eyes.
– She fell asleep during David Lynch’s INLAND EMPIRE and I had to wake her up because she was snoring so loudly the rest of the theater could hear it.
– She loved Pedro Almodóvar’s films.
– She hated Tori Amos’ music but loved Joni Mitchell.
– We went and saw Amiee Mann in concert.
– She scored us very hard to get tickets to a Laurie Anderson show at Diana Wortham.
– She had a knack for picking out really awesome birthday presents.
– We all barely survived her when she quit smoking in 2010. She was on the patch and became a raging bitch to be around for a few months.
– She got really mad at me when I pranked her about having to wear a wig for Floyd Collins.
– I am pretty sure she (and the rest of the cast) saw me naked when I stepped into that last performance of The Full Monty.
I could go on and on.
Our friendship faltered when I started dating David. I think it was jealously and insecurity on her part. I tried to make time for her as I have hated it when friends ditch me for their boyfriends/girlfriends. It didn’t seem to matter. I eventually got to the point where it was easier not to deal with it. The last show I worked on with her (Urinetown: The Musical in 2013), we ended up in a screaming match after a rehearsal because she was being bitchy and I just couldn’t take it any more. After that, I pretty much would only speak to her if I ran into her at the theater or another gathering. Again, it just seemed easier not to be stressed out about our friendship. I just let the friendship go.
And here we are, nearly two years later, and she’s gone.
I can’t help but feel a little guilty now about ditching her for the last two years. Maybe things would have gotten better with our friendship and maybe not. I’ll never know now .. and I feel bad that we missed going to the movies or on the Studio Stroll to enjoy the art.
Christy, Sherry, and I did get to see Frances right after her diagnosis. She seemed pretty upbeat and didn’t seemed overly bothered that life had thrown her this massive curve ball that she was going to strike out on. We’ve discussed whether she was really that calm about the how thing or just being willfully ignorant to the situation. Who knows.
What I do know is that I wish I could have seen her one last time before she went into hospice care. Life is short and we need to appreciate the friendships we have.