Serious health problems have beset Austin theatre artists Douglas Taylor and Brian Gaston as they are working on upcoming projects.
Friends in Need
Longtime local actor Douglas Taylor is in Seton Hospital following a heart attack on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 15. The 39-year-old performer, seen recently in the Public Domain/Refraction Arts production Metamorphosis, felt the attack coming on and called 911, but by the time help arrived, Taylor had collapsed, and firefighters had to break down his apartment door and use CPR and paddles to revive him. He was then transported to Seton, where he underwent double bypass surgery Sunday night and has been in the hospital's intensive care unit ever since. Taylor was returned to have surgery Monday for an adjustment to the procedure the night before, but he has been resting since then and may be moved out of intensive care by press time. Taylor, a busy performer who also appeared in the Subterranean Theatre Company production of Raised by Lesbians and the Public Domain production of King Lear this year had been in rehearsal for the Salvage Vanguard Theater's world premiere of Tilt Angel, a new play by Dan Dietz , which was to open Oct. 12. That opening is on hold for now. Like many artists, Taylor has no health insurance, and his family's resources are stretched to the limits by a terrible coincidence: Taylor's grandfather also had a heart attack on Sunday. So Taylor's friends in the theatre community are collecting donations to help with the ailing actor's medical bills, as well as rent and living expenses during his recovery. A bank account is being set up in Taylor's name. Cash and checks (which may be made payable to Doug Taylor or Cyndi Williams) can be left at contribution boxes at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center and Austin Lyric Opera, in 24-hour drop-off mail slots at the Off Center and Hyde Park Theatre, or mailed to: The Doug Taylor Fund, c/o Cyndi Williams, 507 E. Mary, Austin, TX 78704. To contact Williams, call 443-3188 or write her at Skeletono@aol.com.
Another local theatre artist was recently hospitalized just prior to the opening of a show on which he was working. Actor, director, designer, and Second Youth Repertory Theatre company member Brian Gaston, who was creating the Audrey II puppets for Zachary Scott Theatre Center's production of Little Shop of Horrors, suffered a severe cut on one of his shins as he was leaving Zach, and though the wound was sewn up, it became infected, sending Gaston into the hospital days before the Sept. 21opening. Fortunately, he was released Monday, Sept. 17, and is able to work, but the time lost forced Little Shop director Dave Steakley to cancel the show's Thursday preview performance. Designer Leslie Bonnell has gathered volunteers to help out with a round-the-clock marathon push at finishing up the puppets in time for Saturday's opening. Unfortunately, Gaston is also without insurance and could benefit from the community's assistance. Generous souls wishing to help can reach Gaston via firstname.lastname@example.org.