Dear Flying Carpet Family and Friends,
With great sadness I write to share the passing of one of the founders of the company and its bedrock for the early years, Matthew Seidman. Matt suffered a catastrophic accident on his Vespa in Brooklyn. After several weeks in the ICU, he died last Saturday.
From 2003 to 2008, Matt’s annual presence in FCT shows, and also as an ambassador behind the scenes, helped the company to launch. Across two tours to Atlanta, two to Edinburgh, one through Ireland, and developmental time in Philly – Matt, along with his wife Hilda, shared their boundless energy and creativity. We initially sold ourselves as “a physical theatre company.” Matt’s efficiency in movement, grace, athleticism, and spacial awareness helped to make this claim authentic. Mixed with his intellectual prowess and ready access to his inner emotional life, he was such a dynamic force within our shows.
His origination of the character William Ellsworth Robinson in our The Mystery of Chung Ling Soo was perhaps our finest collaboration. His vivid mixture of confidence, bravado, charisma with mounting confusion and vulnerability could only have been achieved by a very few performers. His natural obsessive tendencies dovetailed right into the character. He’d perform movement sequences IN TOTAL BLACKOUT (when most actors would’ve chilled) so that he maintained his character and the flow of his energy. A videographer in Edinburgh recorded two performances on subsequent nights and marveled that the time of the show was within seconds of each other, even with live audience response. Matt drove that show, and he was so consistent (and consistently good) in his performance that the videographer could intercut a wide shot and close-ups from two performances as if they were the exact same show.
Was Matt always easy? You already know the answer. “Should I stand here or here? Would the prop look better if I held this way, or that? “I don’t think that makes sense as an action…what about this?” But in Matt’s mania there was almost* always a method. He made every show better for his attention to detail.
*(I say almost, because he so utterly detested NOT having interesting business with which he could believably occupy himself with onstage, that he once talked me into letting his character pour some whiskey for himself and slowly drink it. This was for a workshop production of 1001 Nights in 2012. Neither of us remembered that the play was set in a Muslim country with a prohibition against alcohol AND that it was for a children’s show. We got dinged for it. But like all things with Matt, it led to a great laugh.)
I will miss his humor, his delightful mania, his readiness to connect with people, his exasperating yet productive rehearsal methods, his graceful movement, his energy, his friendship, and huge creative energy.
Most of you have been in direct touch with Hilda already, but please let me know if you need any further information or ways of supporting the Seidman family.