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Dean Remick takes final curtain call, retires after 27 years and over 100 plays

Dean Remick plays the familiar role of UCC theater director.
Photo provided by Sarah Link
Dean Remick plays the familiar role of UCC theater director.

After working at Umpqua Community College for more than 27 years, speech and theater instructor Dean Remick has resorted to retirement. Remick, also UCC’s drama producer and director, helped produce over 100 campus plays and led thousands of students during his tenure.

Remick was reunited with many of these students at a community reception held in his honor Jan. 13. “Some of my students grew up and had kids who also came through the theatrical program years later,” Remick said.

For Remick, theater is central to the American experience. He explains that it uniquely gives us insight to our identities and connects us with our humanity, helping us to empathize and identify with other people as well as live out emotions and experience things we might not otherwise.

Remick compares actors to athletes who have to work together on a team in order to do well, much like a cast. “My sport is year-round,” explains Remick whose schedule often included four plays per school year. “Live theater is very time-intensive. It requires a lot of dedication. There is so much of a craft and a labor involved in a daily routine of discipline. I felt like I climbed Mt. Everest about four times a year.”

  • Cindy Pieske, Corinne Campbell, Corinne Windish play a scene in Nunsence (2009).

  • Zoe Wilson plays Peter Pan (2010) to Brittney Egan’s Wendy.

  • In Cinderella (2008), Wendy Weikum, Melody Schwegle and Sarah Davis bring the theater to life.

Remick also likened his drama work to a locomotive. At the start of the process, he says, that train just barely moves with work in set designing, casting, and rehearsing. But it slowly picks up speed until the train is almost out of control by production time.

Through the last 30 years, Remick has had to adapt to many career field changes and advancements. “Technology has really entered into the bulk of it,” he says, noting also people’s tendency now to stay at home more for entertainment.  “Cable networks, satellite television, and computer games have made it harder to get audiences to attend live events.”

What will Remick miss the most about his work at UCC? “Of course, the people, namely the staff and especially the students.”  Remick explained that he will also miss the challenges of creating live theater.

For additional information from the Remick interview, see our Q and A below.

Questions & Answers with Theater Director Dean Remick

Q: Which was your favorite play?

A: “That is almost impossible to answer, there are a number of them,” said Remick. “Among the top were ‘Death Trap,’ ‘Annie,’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ ”

Q: What advice would you give a new director?

A:  “Directing takes a lot of hard work and dedication; it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Be prepared to jump in and really make a lot of mistakes. You have to have an incredible amount of love and commitment and a willingness to learn from hard work.”

Q: What are you going to do in retirement?

A: “Lots of projects at home; [I am] planning trips to Palm Springs, the East Coast and eventually Europe.

Q: What play influenced you the most?

A: ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ because it helped me deal with a loss and gain strength from it. Life goes on, still a lot to live for despite the loss.

Q: Who are your favorite playwrights?

A: Lanford Wilson, Moliere, and Arther Miller for his insight into nature and people as well as the depth and substance behind his plays.

Q: Worst UCC play wardrobe mistake?

A:  On stage, the worst one was probably in “Hello Dolly” when one of the characters performed the whole scene with his fly unzipped. The audience was very entertained with the scene, and the actor thought he was just killin’ it; then he realized the reason they were so amused was because his fly was unzipped. Another time, one of the cast members was supposed to play a hooker in a show, and we were checking out costumes.

Q: Favorite line from a play?

A: Hamlet’s “What a piece of work is man!  How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!  And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?  Man delights not me–no, not women neither.”