- Oakley Hall III
Oakley "Tad" Hall III (May 26, 1950 – February 13, 2011) was an American playwright, director, and author. The eldest child of novelist Oakley Hall and photographer Barbara E. Hall, at age 28 he was a rising star in the New York theatre scene. In the mid-1970s, his play Mike Fink was optioned by Joseph Papp of the Public Theatre. Oakley founded and was the artistic director of the legendary Lexington Conservatory Theatre in upstate New York, where his plays Grinder's Stand and Beatrice (Cenci) and the Old Man, and his stage adaptation of Frankenstein, enjoyed their première productions. Lexington Conservatory Theatre moved to Albany in 1979 and continues operating today as Albany Rep.
In 1978, Oakley suffered traumatic and massive head injuries in a fall from a bridge. He eventually returned to California to live in Nevada City near his family; there his play Grinder's Stand, which he had been writing at the time of his accident, was produced by the Foothill Theatre Company, directed by Philip Sneed. The story of this production, entwined with Oakley's fall and the slow process of creating a new life, are movingly told in Bill Rose's award-winning documentary, The Loss of Nameless Things..
Oakley made a life-long study of the pre-surrealist playwright, Alfred Jarry, and over the years translated several of Jarry's plays from the original French. In 2008, Hall moved to Albany, New York, to live with Hadiya Wilborn, who fostered a collaboration with acclaimed puppeteer Ed Atkeson. This resulted in a production of one of those translated plays, Ubu Rex, performed by the Firlefanz Puppets at Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany, New York, directed by Oakley, with Steven Patterson in the title role. In the fall of 2010, Moving Finger Press published Oakley's novel, Jarry and Me, in which Oakley intertwines a memoir of his own life with a sly "autobiography" of Jarry. One of the last sentences of the book is, "Jarry dies with a grin on his face."
Oakley is survived by his two children, Oakley and Elizabeth, his mother, Barbara E. Hall, his sisters Sands Hall, Tracy Hall, and Brett Hall Jones, four loving nephews and a niece—Justin, Nico, Hunter, Dashiell, and Emma—and his chérie, Hadiya Wilborn.
Some of Oakley Hall III's writings are available to read online at www.absintheurpress.com, in a collection which is continually being supplemented.
Hall has been mentioned in music, including The Tigersharks' "The Ballad of Oakley Hall III," and poetry, including B. Elliott Crist's "Tad".
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