To the editor:
Father Abbot Douglas Wright, of Holy Apostles Monastery in Whitefield, passed away last week in Augusta.
Douglas Wright was a man who lived life by his own rules. As a monastic in his later life, he lived off the grid and according to a vow of poverty. His home was built into the side of a hill, where the roof was grassy and his chickens grazed. He built a church for the Holy Apostles Monastery, which stands as a testament to his strong beliefs.
Long before that isolated time, Douglas was a leader in bringing theater to life in the Midcoast area. He founded the Lincoln County Community Theater and Orchestra after an infamous split with the previous group, the DamCastle Players. While that was before I moved home, the story goes that chairs flew across the floor of the old gym at Lincoln Academy (now the Poe Theater). However wild the beginning, Doug started something that still lives on — Lincoln County Community Theater.
Douglas’ vision for a community theater had room for everyone. Talent was not always a prerequisite but enthusiasm was a requirement. If you showed up willing to work, you were in.
I met Douglas in 1978, when he held auditions for “L’il Abner.” On that first day I met people that became lifelong friends, my theater family. I became his stage manager and costumer and, from that first meeting, found a fast friend. In fact, many of the people most beloved in my life came to me from association with local theater and for all of those people, as a ripple in a lake, I owe that irascible and lovable man a debt of thanks.
Many people who might never have taken a step onto a stage did so for Douglas. Children learned confidence; people were unafraid to speak in public who might never have tried. Even our late police chief, George Hutchings, appeared onstage for Doug, in walk-on roles in countless shows, to the delight of the audiences.
Doug’s pride was his orchestra. Sometimes as many as 21 pieces played along as local performers sang and sort of danced to everything from “Gypsy” to “The Sound of Music.”
Doug brought music, laughter, and theater to countless audiences. He made me welcome home, to the area, to the theater, and to so much more. There are hilarious and heartfelt stories to share and perhaps soon his friends and family can honor him with stories and songs.
He used to break his primary rule for actors at every performance. It was forbidden to peek between the curtains to see who might be in the “house,” but he did it, excited as any child to see his neighbors waiting for the show to begin.
There are no stage lights to dim in his honor during this time of isolation, but there should be.