In Memoriam: Jayme Green Remembers Gerry Roe
I came to Rocky Mountain College as an undergrad in 1998 to study Aeronautical Science with the intent of flying helicopters some day. Theatre had been a hobby in high school, not a viable career path.
That first semester, I auditioned for the fall production of “The Crucible”; heavy material for a small-town Montana kid. But I thought it would be fun to give acting a shot in college. I was cast, only to learn that the theatre professor was on sabbatical. The show and process was fun and kindled a true passion for the art. What hooked me, though, were the stories of Gerry and his genius for all things theatrical.
“Wait until you meet Gerry,” everyone said. “Oh my God, he’s so fun. Gerry is a phenomenal director!”
Gerry was influencing my thoughts and feelings about our art form before I had even met him. The moment I met him, it was obvious why everyone spoke so highly of his intelligent, fun, caring, and sometimes ridiculous nature.
He supported my studies in Aviation, but also began to cultivate the stage performer in me. He knew the two passions could coexist, but recognized (even before I did) that a love for the arts was driving me. Gerry helped with the difficult decision of focusing more on Theatre than Aviation, careful never to push too hard one way or the other. He was supportive and gracious. We talked for hours on end. Despite a passion for Archaeology that developed late in my undergraduate years, Gerry knew the theatre was at my core and continued to fan that flame.
I participated in every show Gerry directed during my undergraduate years and remember each distinctly: “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Noises Off!” “A Flea In Her Ear,” “Fuddy Meers,” and “The Bacchae,” to name a few. He encouraged us to expand our horizons, so I directed “The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)” as a senior project with his guidance and support. I went on countless road trips to theatre festivals because he was determined to give us every possible experience.
At one festival, the seed was planted that led to my becoming the only Certified Teacher in stage combat in Montana. This course would have been impossible without Gerry. We continued to collaborate on many shows after my time at Rocky. And we talked about the business, the art, and life.
Gerry was there for me when I lost my father. He fostered the environment that led to the formation of deep friendships that continue to sustain me. He demonstrated the importance of giving back to our art form and taught me that I always have a puppet with me.
Gerry was a tremendous teacher, mentor, director, and counselor. More importantly, for close to twenty years, he was my collaborator, colleague, and true friend.
Jayme C. Green
Assistant Professor, Theatre Arts, Rocky Mountain College
Note: For additional memories of Gerry, read the Billings Gazette profile by RMC English Instructor Jaci Webb.