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My name is Art Koustik. I am a founding member of South Coast Repertory Theatre. The reason that I mention this is because I would not be a founding member or even be in theatre was it not for George Archambeault. ARCH was my mentor; surrogate father and my dear friend. I was a student of his in the late fifties. A Marine Corp. veteran who was a P.E. major until a buddy suggested I take a drama class from this incredible drama teacher (George Archambeault). I did and it changed my life on many levels. ARCH and I hit it off right away although I must say it took him awhile to trust that I really wanted to be in the theatre. He coached me and mentored me and gave me a lot of encouragement .BUT-- he also warned me of the many pitfalls of this "business" called theatre. Arch and his beloved wife Dorothy more or less adopted me. They would have me over for home cooked meals and gave me a sense of family that I had not really experienced before. He also showed me how to being a decent human being was much more valuable than any vocation one chooses. When my time to move on approached Arch recommended I go to San Francisco State College, his alma mater, which I did. With my background of studies with ARCH I felt relatively comfortable fitting into the four-year college theatre curriculum. After having relative success at SFSC, I was asked if I wanted to be on the ground floor of new theatre group in So Cal. That was the beginning of the adventure of being one of the founders of Tony award winning South Coast Repertory Theatre, which has become one of top five regional theatre nationally and internationally. But it all began with this incredible teacher, mentor and friend George Archambeault.
With the grace of GOD and Arch I found a career and livelihood doing what many people in the arts can only dream about.
A commemoration in ARCH's name is appropriate and a necessity .
South Coast Repertory Theatre
I believe Archambeault was as good a director as there was in the theater. He knew where to move the actors and he knew when to sit and listen. I had several parts in Carlino's "The Brick and The Rose" a readers Theater, and one evening I really broke through during one emotional scene. I asked him whether he was there that evening and, of course, I knew he was. I was playing for him. Even when I said the wrong thing he would listen. Many directors feel no restraint in changing a script but once I heard him say that when some property does not work "there is only so much you can do". This was the ultimate act of humility from a very strong willed man.