RICK CLUCHEY (1933 –2015)

We wish to salute a talented actor, director and friend who passed away on December 28th. Rick Cluchey was a great interpreter of Samuel Beckett's plays, an esteemed collaborator of Scena, and an inspiration to society.


Rick Cluchey performs in the title role of Krapp's Last Tape, written and directed by Samuel Beckett, produced by Scena Theatre.

“Rick Cluchey will always be fondly remembered for his theatrical excellence and heartfelt kindness. We were fortunate to work with him in our 1990 and 1999 "Beckett Festivals" produced by Scena Theatre and the San Quentin Drama Workshop. The last time I saw Rick was in Berlin for the Berlin Beckett Festival. He was playing in "Krapps's Last Tape" at the Akademie der Künste. Now I am in Berlin, and I read his obituary in "Der Taggespiegel". Berlin is where Rick's association with Beckett began as he assisted him in a German production of "Das letze Bande". Anyone who ever saw Rick in this role will never forget his performance. It was quite simply mesrmerizing—with direction by the author. All of us at Scena and our friends in Washington will remember Rick's artistry, perseverance, and the bold choices he made on stage and in life. God bless Rick.”

—ROBERT McNAMARA | Artistic Director, Scena Theatre

Rick's Story:

At age 21, Rick Cluchey was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to life in prison. But his life changed dramatically when the San Francisco Actors Workshop performed Waiting for Godot directed by Herbert Blau at San Quentin State Prison in November 1957. After this life-altering event, Rick began acting and performed in several Samuel Beckett plays while still in prison. Years later, he finally met the famed playwright in the mid-1970s in Paris. In 1990, Scena Theatre presented "The Beckett Festival", a joint venture with the famed San Quentin Drama Workshop—which Rick founded while in jail. In this Festival, Scena staged "Come and Go" by Samuel Beckett, directed by Rick Cluchey and featuring Rick as “Joe” at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in DC (April 1990). Later, Rick performed the lead role of "Krapp" in Krapp's Last Tape, written and directed by Samuel Beckett and produced by Scena Theatre. In 2012, Rick performed in Samuel Beckett's classic absurdist drama, Waiting for Godot at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. He died December 28, 2015 in Santa Monica, CA at the age of 82.