Glyn Jones: A Man for All Seasons

 

glyn_jonesThis is Glyn Jones. There’s a chance, unless you were at theatre student at James Madison University between 1988 and 1989, or active in theatre circles of England, you don’t know who he is…

…but if you’re reading this blog, you all have met him.

My first meeting with Glyn was in my Freshman Year at JMU. I was acting opposite of him in Molliere’s The Imaginary Invalid. I made a memorable impression by tripping over his chair, and practically falling on top of him. This was the beginning of a friendship where, much to my loss, I fell out of touch, even though we reconnected on Facebook. (Not really the “reconnection” I hoped for, but it was good to see those updates.) I failed in emails and phone calls, but Glyn’s name came up often in my conversations, especially when I talk about my days in the theatre.

equusAs a guest professional at JMU, Glyn taught me a lot about the art of being an actor; but while I would not have expected it, we became friends. As a friend, he respected me enough  to tell me how things honestly were. Glyn never minced words. He always told me why, and sometimes I didn’t want to know but Glyn told it to me straight. He pushed me as an actor, far into places that I didn’t think I could go. My parents and friends, to this day, love to rib me over my lead role in Equus, the play were I “bore all” for my craft.

What you don’t hear in these jokes is the respect I earned from that production. There was no laughter when the clothes came off. There was no mocking. No ridicule. In that defining moment, I understood what it meant to be an actor: step out of your comfort zone and conquer.

DoctorWho_GlynGlyn didn’t just teach me what it meant to be an actor. Glyn taught me what it meant to be a professional artist. I saw in Glyn the value of regarding his gift in acting not as the sole means to a life, but merely a first step. I remember walking into his office one day, and he finished up a phone call, hung up the receiver, and looked at me with a smile. “I just closed a deal for $10,000,” he stated. Glyn, you see, was also a writer. It was years later, long after I had graduated from JMU, that a friend pulled out of her home-recorded Doctor Who collection the Hartnell-era episode “The Space Museum”. He wrote that episode and its novelization.

So yeah, if you’re a Whovian, you’ve met Glyn.

The titles Glyn wrote and published reached across genres. Glyn directed. Glyn produced. He did it all, and this student of his saw that his mentor never stopped challenging himself. In this point of my life, I wanted to be an actor. That’s it. Yes, I was also getting a degree in Mass Communication as a fallback, but acting was it. I never thought about writing, never thought about public speaking, or even thought about teaching. It was all about acting. Glyn taught me diversity, and he gave me a hard, honest look at the business behind art.

glynchrisdouglasEven though we fell out of touch, Glyn never left me. Everywhere I traveled, I had photos of our reunion in Hebden Bridge within reach. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and challenged my limits as an actor, and then brought in my hobby of writing into my profession. Like Glyn, I never stopped learning. I wanted to know more about editing video. I wanted to know more about graphic design. I wanted to understand the mechanics of publishing, and the business behind it all. All these skills I had no background; and in some cases, no formal training.

Glyn taught me a valuable lesson: The only thing standing between you and your goals is you. Push yourself. Never stop learning. Grow. Evolve.

If you are a fan of my writing, if you have enjoyed any videos I’ve produced, if you’ve attended any of my seminars, or if you walked away with a new skill after one of my classes, then you’ve met Glyn. He’s had an influence on you, just as he had on me.

Glyn Idris Jones died peacefully at home in Vamos, Crete on Tuesday 2 April 2014 at 3:30pm. I found out this morning, and today I remember my mentor and my friend.

I love you, Glyn. Thank you for everything.

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2 thoughts on “Glyn Jones: A Man for All Seasons

  1. My condolences on your loss, Tee. This is an excellent tribute.

    The best tribute we can give to our mentors is to prove that their faith in us is justified by going forth and being successful in our own right. I think Glyn would be proud.

    Doc

  2. Regrettably I never had the opportunity to meet Glyn Jones. But I was fortunate enough to have corresponded with him pretty regularly via e-mail for the past few years. I always found him to be intelligent, witty, imanginative and very clever. So I was sorry to learn of Glyn’s passing. I previously wrote a short piece on my blog discussing his wonderful autobiography No Official Umbrella. Hopefully I will have a chance to pen a follow-up piece.

    http://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/no-official-umbrella/

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