Muriel was a driving force for so many of us.
She was not a mother to us, no not at all. A mentor? Not exactly. She was more than that. She was a teacher, a director, a force of nature. She inhabited a space that was sacred and can never be replicated. That’s why, as one student who has lived a full and memorable life said, “I’d give anything to be in one of her classes again.”
As would I.
She had a thirst for … well, everything. She took a course in insects at The Museum of Natural History. She was a visual artist and illustrator of uncommon gifts. She knew where to buy the best cheese and get the best haircut. She loved donuts. It was my payment to her when she directed me in later years.
And boy, could she cook. She cooked like she directed. To eat at her table was divine, as was she.
When she died, her husband asked me what I would like of hers. I said, “I would like her recipes.”
A Fulbright scholar who studied children’s theatre in England and used the Victorian Pollack Toy Theatre as a template for many of her sets and flyers, she later became a connoisseur of television and with a yellow legal pad at her side, jotted down notes on commercials … like a director. Her description of the stout Frenchwoman who sold her cheese was out of a Daumier illustration.
Oh, and she loved Elvis! Really, really loved him.
A rose by any other name …
Muriel Elizabeth Schochen Sharon Tillim
Cue the curtain.