Most of the committee, and many of our wider readership, will have fond memories of working with Peter Lang, whose passing has been announced.
Ever the gentleman, polite, articulate, entertaining and hard-working, he was the go-to actor for many directors when it came to benign authority figures. John Turnbull remembers:
Peter joined the cast of As You Like It for the SSS 2009 summer production after the sad death of Victor Clements earlier that year, taking over his parts of Old Adam and Sir Oliver Martext. I had of course seen and worked with him in a number of productions at the Geoffrey Whitworth Theatre, notable among which were Justice Shallow in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Selsdon Mowbray in Noises Off. He noted that at “almost four score years” he was exactly the right age for the part of Orlando’s faithful retainer.
Four years later, by this time well into his 80s, he joined us again with a delightful performance as Verges in Much Ado About Nothing at St Clere, brilliantly playing the straight man to Colin Hill’s Dogberry.
He was the director’s dream: punctual, patient, unselfish, hardworking, and very talented. Though small in stature, he had a surprisingly powerful voice and presence, and delighted audiences in the open air. With typical self-deprecation, he said of himself, “a bit of a ham, but you can always hear him at the back!” The second was true, the first very wide of the mark. His performances were always truthful, natural, and often very funny.
Off stage he was the same quiet, self-effacing gentlemen, though he could be induced, with the aid of a small whisky, to regale us with reminiscences of his swashbuckling past as a movie stuntman! Truly a man full of surprises. We shall miss him a lot.