10/30/2009 Magazine Staff

Professor Ed Brubaker '49 dies

  • ed brubaker
Students who performed at the Green Room Theatre all remember the sound welling up from the man they called "Ed."

The late Professor Edward S. Brubaker '49 often let loose a deep, rolling laughter in appreciation of a scene well-played—or sometimes one that slipped away from the young actors on stage.

"He was as enthusiastic an audience as he was a director, an actor and a teacher," said Treat Williams '73, who became friends with Brubaker at F&M. As a student, Williams house-sat for Brubaker and his wife, Mary, when they spent summers at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore.

Brubaker spent more than four decades steeped in the Oregon festival and acted in, stage-managed or directed all the Bard's plays.

"I was surrounded by Ed and his stuff, his books, his piano, the smell of his pipe, and I just remember thinking, 'I hope my house has this kind of enthusiasm for learning.' It was just permeating, this kind of love of life that Ed and Mary had," Williams said.

A respected Shakespearean authority, Brubaker wrote a handbook for actors, Shakespeare Aloud, and a biography, Shakespeare: A Life in Seven Chapters.

Brubaker was born and raised in Lancaster and graduated from F&M in 1949. He returned as a professor in 1952 after earning a master's degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania.

His signature achievement was the founding in 1971 of the Drama Department, which offered a unique combination of academic rigor and theatrical performance. It is now known as the Department of Theater, Dance & Film.

The late Professor Hugh Evans, Gordon M. Wickstrom, Alumni Professor of English Literature and Belles Lettres, emeritus, and Brubaker formed a triumvirate that oversaw a flowering of the Green Room Theatre and the dramatic arts at F&M.

Brubaker died July 15 at his home in Ashland. He was 84. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Jenny Black.
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