I feel very stupid about this because I had no idea that one of my classmates at Yale, Christiane Riera had died of cancer 4 years ago at the quite young age of 44, leaving behind a son and husband in Brazil. (At least I knew she had moved back to Brazil after Yale.).
I just came across an email about a Facebook post from a few months ago where a theatre in Brazil was named after her. It’s beautiful that someone so young was beloved and had accomplished enough in a relatively short life to be so honored.
Obviously the bulk of her theatre, film and TV work was in Brazil, but a very good film she worked on was “The Constant Gardener” which many people should know. Here’s another person’s blog post where she goes through some of the details of Chris’ career and how she gave to her as a writer and person.
But I also feel so sad because Chris was such a nice person. In the arts, there are always people with egos and insecurities that lead them to do nasty things. She was SO the opposite of that. Kind and generous. I can’t think of a moment in New Haven when she wasn’t so. She had a shared apartment down in NYC and let me stay there, which allowed me to stay so much more connected to the NY art and theatre world while I was in New Haven.
And of course, it’s impossible not to relate her death too young to some other friends who died too young like Vivi Friedman – a talented film director I knew – who also died of cancer in her early 40’s. And friends and relatives who died (and some who survived) of the same disease. And of course, my own mortality and what seems like so little accomplished. And how we fool ourselves that our time is forever but in truth we’re sitting on the ledge of a figurative Grand Canyon. The awesomeness of life is before us, but our balance is always precarious and ephemeral.