Today is a sad day for Bombshell Studios. Anthony John Fichera passed away peacefully this morning. He was an amazing friend, a creative juggernaut and without him our two films “Game On” and “Elimination” could not have been possible.
A part of me feels very empty. The future, though bright, now just seems different. I owe Anthony so much as a friend and as a co-worker and fellow artist that future projects, right now, feel as if they won’t have the same pizazz to them. Anthony had a way of making us all laugh with his mind-boggling knowledge of pop culture, his sharp wit and an intellect that propelled him so far above the norm that it was often breath-taking to behold.
I love you, buddy. Rest in Peace.
Below is the eulogy I gave at his memorial service.
“Past and to come seems best; things present worst.” (Henry IV, II – Archbishop of York)
Anthony Fichera was my friend.
I met Anthony on the stage next door in the fall of 1995 in a production of Othello. I was acting in the production, and Anthony was the production’s dramaturg. I’d explain exactly what a dramaturg is for those who don’t know but I’m afraid Anthony would never be satisfied with my explanation. Besides, what Anthony did for the theatre was far and above that of a simple dramaturg.
We had a number of things in common: love of the theatre, movies, music, taste in books, we both played dungeons and dragons (though neither of us would publicly admit it.)
We hit it off pretty well, I think. I don’t remember a time that we were ever not friends. It seems as if he’s always been there, just a phone call away or a trip to his apartment. Lunch at Carrburritos or an afternoon movie at Timberlyne.
That’s how it all began.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” (As You Like It, Touchstone)
Anthony was a genius. For those that know him you will understand what I mean. For those that don’t, a glimpse into his mind is virtually impossible to describe but I’ll try.
He was a voracious reader, taking in subjects ranging from quantum physics to the history of the washing machine. No words spoken by him were ever devoid of this vast encyclopedic knowledge.
He could discuss, at length, (much to Leon’s chagrin) the topic of Gertrude Stein and hold a conversation about the golden age of UCLA college basketball.
His collective knowledge of pop culture was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Who else remembers the name of the dog in the 1975 movie A Boy and His Dog?
Who else could (or for that matter would want to) compare the plot and thematic similarities between Hamlet and Strange Brew?
Yet at the same time he could be extremely pedantic and a bit, irreverent. Okay more than a bit.
He loved deSaad. I’m not going any further with THAT subject.
In his DVD collection was every season of South Park. Whenever a new season came out, he would devour it in one night and then pick three or four episodes, call me up and tell me I had to come over and watch them. The South Park “Lord of the Rings” episode was one of his favorites.
Another example, who has ever seen Anthony do this? (Anthony’s Finger gesture.)
Anthony dictated that this was the equivalent of giving someone the finger as seen through a hyper-spacial warping of a dimensional rift in the time/space continuum.
Who thinks up stuff like this?
By the way, the dog’s name was Blood.
“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet, Ophelia)
I don’t think Anthony ever really knew how smart he was.
In the early spring of 1998 myself and a group of folks decided to produce Shakespeare’s beginning and end of the War of the Roses (Richard 2 and Richard 3). Anthony graciously offered to dramaturg these shows.
This was the beginning of a long artistic relationship and was my first real direct experience with a dramaturg. My eyes were completely opened. At times a passage in the text would be virtually impossible to unravel despite all the work put into it. So the dramaturg would come in, research and then help enlighten by placing the text into context for the time.
What Anthony was capable of, however, was skipping the research part. Or rather, because of how brilliant he truly was and how much he’d already read throughout his life, he’d already have the answer. He’d whisper it to me in an aside, a light would go off in my head and I’d think, “How on earth did he know this?”
Every artistic leadership role I’ve had since that early spring, Anthony has been a part of. Nearly 20 plays and films. I’m not sure how I’ll get through the next one.
Anthony loved the theatre so much. If he ever really felt at home anywhere it was in the theatre. Here amongst the dark walls and all the shadows of Hamlet, Nora, John Proctor, Elektra, Martini and so many others.
“What a piece of work is a man!” (Hamlet, Hamlet)
Despite all of this, his genius, his knowledge, his irreverent inquisitiveness, Anthony was a quiet guy. So quiet at times that I think he often went unnoticed. He kept to himself. In public, he’d put his head down, his headphones from his iPod in his ears.
Martel Walker, a friend of Anthony’s and mine, tells a story about getting on one of the Chapel Hill buses and taking a seat next to Anthony. It was four stops later before Anthony realized Martel was there and that was only because Martel finally poked him.
He was peaceful and kind, often apologizing for something he either didn’t do or had no control over anyway.
He never had it easy in life. Sometimes, I know, he felt like everything in life was a big fight and maybe if he kept a low profile he might go unnoticed.
Well, many of us DID notice him and I know he cherished all those relationships.
“Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.” (R&J, Juliet)
Anthony Fichera was my friend.
I’m going to miss you, buddy.