What if an actress finished her performance, took her bows, tried to leave the stage, but her fellow actors and the audience would not let her go? At Harriet Redden’s memorial service, a story was told of an old lady “losing her marbles.” On the way out of the theatre, each person was given a marble in memory of Harriet with the instruction that it be put away when the time was right. For her many friends and colleagues, that time will never come. If a spirit’s immortality is living on in the hearts, minds and joy of all who knew her, Harriet is indeed immortal.
It was a mutual love affair from the moment she stepped into the spotlight as she delighted many audiences, young and old, over her many years at Black Hills Community Theatre. Harriet was funny, on stage and off, and she laughed heartily, often and long. She also suffered mightily, as mortals do. In her case she dealt with the mental illness and death of a child and her own final illness. But she crushed sorrow in a joyous embrace of life. Her stories were told with the gifted actor’s magic, mystery and often raucous, conviction, and the stories live on with her generous spirit.
Someday, we too will lose our marbles, or misplace them, or drop them somewhere, but not yet. There is something so deliciously right in finding the marble in a drawer or a coat pocket and re-opening the floodgates of memory. “There it is!” In a larger way, we have formed, a bit ironically, a “society” to celebrate Harriet Redden by donating funds and naming the Box Office in a new theatre facility for her. It will be a place of memory of good-good times for her friends, colleagues, family and her beloved “Jackie.”