As many of you probably read in Connor’s post yesterday, the Muskingum community suffered a shocking loss this weekend with the passing of Professor John Kuhn. Though this was only his second year at Muskingum, one of the greatest testaments to his life is the difference he made for so many in such a short span. I didn’t realize the number of people he had touched until I saw the outpouring of support amongst our amazing community.
I first worked with Professor Kuhn in the fall of 2013 in the play “Almost, Maine,” which was a charming show about love, loss, and relationships. I have always been the kind of girl who loved musicals: I was all about the big jazzy dance numbers and motivational songs. Plays weren’t necessarily my ‘thing.’ But John connected acting to life and human nature, and those people and experiences that surround us daily. No scene, no moment, was too small to teach something or convey something to the audience. And it was never perfect. He always felt we could go farther, dig deeper, feel more.
After “Almost, Maine” came “Company,” the first musical Muskingum had done in years. Once again, John was a joy to work with. He was passionate and hard working; full of good humor and joy or a little kick in the pants, depending on what we needed at the time. Either way, he was excellent with words and always knew what to say to push us to the next level.
Though we had only rehearsed together for this year’s musical, “Bye, Bye, Birdie” for a few weeks, I was already having the time of my life. John was a director that lived the old adage that “no part is too small.” You can take my word for it: I definitely have a small part in the show. ;) But that didn’t stop John from spending as much time on my few lines and moments of stage time as he did on everyone else’s. He knew that a great show was made up of all of its parts, and needs all of its actors.
John was an inspiring teacher, director, and mentor. One of his favorite sayings was “I need more pain.” It started as a way to get us more emotionally invested in the moving scenes, but it had also become a catchphrase we all joked about together. Well, we miss you, John. And we feel it now. We feel the pain.
Rest in peace, and prayers for your family and all those whose lives you touched. Thank you for the many lessons and the wonderful memories. May our lives be a testament to all you taught us.